Government must build on generosity of regularisation scheme to implement Born Here Belong Here Bill

Ivana Bacik TD
31 January 2022

The Labour Party Spokesperson for Integration and TD for Dublin Bay South Ivana Bacik TD has welcomed the opening of the new regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants in Ireland today.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Today marks a very happy and anxious one for the undocumented migrant community. I have heard from a number of people for whom this scheme is an immense relief. Undocumented migrants contribute so much to our communities, but their uncertain legal status puts them at an increased risk of exploitation, and can prevent them from enjoying important milestones with their families because they are unable to leave the State. 

“Unfortunately, the scheme which opens today will not help everyone. Many undocumented migrants who have not received a deportation order may be anxious about applying to this scheme for fear of being removed from the country if their application is unsuccessful. I encourage all persons with such concerns to seek advice from one of the many wonderful migrant rights groups in Ireland. Similarly, although there is a parallel scheme for those in the international protection system, the Government’s decision to discount time spent in the asylum system when considering an applicant’s residency period comes as a blow.

“There are approximately 3000 undocumented children in Ireland. My bill – the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018 – would create a pathway to citizenship for Irish-born children of non-National parents. The Minister for Justice has agreed to work with me to introduce certain elements of this Bill. Namely, to reduce the period of required residence for children in Ireland who wish to apply for citizenship. I was glad to see this principle reflected in the regularisation scheme which opens today. It has a lesser residency requirement for children of three years.

“I am looking forward to the Dáil debating the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 20212, which will give effect to some of the other proposals made by my Bill. Beyond that welcome measure, it is time for a full reversal of the effects of the 2004 Citizenship Referendum. The Government should reintroduce birth right citizenship for all children born in Ireland.

“Recent polling shows that as many as 70% of people in Ireland support such an initiative, which is no surprise, given our own history of emigration and the large Irish diaspora. I would also like to acknowledge Minister McEntee’s engagement with me on this issue over recent years. I look forward to engaging further with her and the Department on this issue and others, particularly on the areas of reckonable residence and of decoupling the status of children from that of their parents for the purpose of applying for citizenship. I further pay tribute to the many migrant rights organisations in Ireland who have worked so hard to make today happen.”

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