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21st Jun 2017

Illegal Irish Living In America Told ‘Don’t Open Your Door’


The arrest of Irishman John Cunningham, who had been living illegally in Boston, America for almost 20 years has shook up the Irish-American community.

Cunningham was a well known member of the GAA in Boston and ran his own business – now he is waiting in a detention center to be deported.

An executive order signed by President Trump in January means that people who have overstayed their visas in the US are now legally on the same level as petty criminals.

10,000 new positions were created in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to target illegal immigration and remove illegals from the States.

People who enter the US under legal ESTA visa waivers and overstay seriously run the risk of being transported to a privately owned detention center in the US, which often have their own courtrooms, and the current US government is making the message clear that if caught you will be deported.

US immigration lawyer Caro Kinsella told there are “no grey areas” with this strict executive order.

Her legal advice for undocumented people in America?

“If it is possible for you to obtain immigration relief, either by marriage or via a child who is older than 21 say, then do so. Because if you end up in a detention centre you are gone. And your lack of a criminal record, your paying taxes, all that will mean absolutely nothing.”

‘Don’t open your door’

Her more practical advice is telling of how serious the situation is…

“Don’t answer if they knock, don’t open your door. Keep a low profile. If you do answer your door make sure they have a properly-executed arrest warrant,” she says.

“Keep your head low, don’t drive, don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“And if you have children then make sure you have your emergency contacts sorted out. Make sure someone has power of attorney over your possessions, your house, your property.

“It’s important to have a gameplan should the worst come to the worst.”

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