IRISH people living illegally in the United States has never feared being deported back to Ireland as much as they do now, it has been claimed.
Kieran O’Sullivan, of the Irish Pastoral Centre in Boston, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the number of undocumented Irish being sent home from the US has surged since President Trump took office in January 2017.
A total of 34 Irish immigrants were deported in 2017, which is an increase on the previous year.
Mr O’Sullivan was speaking after it emerged that a 19-year-old Irishman is due to be deported from the US to Ireland this week, after he overstayed his visa by seven years.
Dylan O’Riordan, originally from Co. Galway, moved to the US when he was 12 years old along with his parents – who are both Green Card Holders.
"We would see comprehensive immigration reform as being the answer to the problems we are facing today," Mr O’Sullivan said.
"The majority of the undocumented Irish [in America] work hard, they pay taxes and they're only looking to make a better life for themselves and their families”.
It is believed there are as many as 50,000 undocumented Irish people living in the US.
Mr O’Sullivan explained there had been a number of high profile ‘detentions’ involving Irish people in the Boston area over the last 12 months.
He said it was “disturbing” that detainees spend up to five weeks in jail while paperwork regarding their expulsion is processed.
This causes considerable upset to the families of those detained whether in the US or back home in Ireland, he said.
Mr O’Sullivan added: “This notion that's out there – that they're a threat to the country – is nonsense.”