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30,000 Undocumented Migrants Live in Fear of Deportation

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By Aideen Sheehan

Friday March 16 2012

ABOUT 30,000 men, women and children living in Ireland are undocumented — meaning they live in constant fear of deportation, the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland has warned.

As the Government lobbies in Washington this St Patrick’s week for the cause of undocumented Irish in America, they should remember that thousands of people here face a similar problem, the MRCI said.

Sri Lankan woman Champika Wanniarachchi, who has been living here for nine years, said her 16-year-old daughter was ranked in the top 5pc of all students in Ireland.

“I want her to have a great life but I am really fearful for her future, that she won’t get the chance to live up to her potential because she is undocumented,” she said.

“In her heart and experience she is Irish. Since she was little every year we have gone as a family to the St Patrick’s Day parade,” she said.

While some undocumented workers have jobs, the lack of work permits and visas can leave them stuck with unscrupulous employers.

This has often resulted in pregnant women turning up at hospital at the last moment because they are afraid of being turned in to the authorities.

The Migrant Rights Centre is an Atlantic grantee.