Immigration system in need of urgent reform
Today the Immigrant Council of Ireland is launching its Impact Report 2018 and we are calling for urgent reform to the immigration system.
Catherine Cosgrave, Managing Solicitor, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “During 2018 the Immigrant Council of Ireland answered more than 3,500 helpline calls and opened 169 legal cases, providing full legal representation in 50 cases. The majority of calls related to family reunification queries, but covered a wide range of issues from citizenship, residence security, business and work permits and EU Treaty Rights.
“In addition to practical support via our helpline and Independent Law Centre, we also engaged in a huge range of activities promoting migrant inclusion, challenging racism and supporting the rights of the most vulnerable migrants, including children and victims of trafficking.”
Ms Cosgrave added, “From our extensive experience it is clear the immigration system is crying out for reform. The people we support want and deserve a simpler, fairer system. One which clearly enumerates their rights and entitlements, is not over-burdened by unnecessary levels of bureaucracy and does not rely so heavily on discretion. Such a system would be more efficient for all involved.”
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “I have always said that if anyone has negative or misinformed opinions of the motivations of those who choose Ireland as their new home, they should come and spend a day in our services.
“Those who approach us want to be joined by their family, they want a stable immigration status, job and financial security, so that they can work and provide and contribute. They want to overcome their difficult and sometimes horrific past and look to a future where they and their family can thrive. These are all of our concerns, all of our motivations, and these human, shared motivations are what give us strength.”
In addition to service provision, during 2018 the Immigrant Council of Ireland continued its advocacy and campaign efforts to tackle trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, fight racism and provide training support to empower migrants to claim their own rights in areas including voting rights and civil engagement. One such programme was the Migrant Leadership Academy.
Fidah Ibrahim, Community Activist and founder Tasnuva Shamim Foundation Ireland, said, “Programmes such the Migrant Leadership Academy are very important for small and migrant-led groups in Ireland because during the course of our many discussions we discovered that we have many common issues. With this network, tools and support, we can now have an opportunity to work on this collectively and make real impact. Ordinary people can make real change if they have the right ideas and groups of people behind them. It is empowering.”
Notes to editors:
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is launching its Impact Report 2018 at 10:30am today (Wednesday 29 May) at EPIC- The Irish Emigration Museum. Speakers include Brian Killoran, CEO and Catherine Cosgrave, Managing Solicitor. Fidah Ibrahim will also be making a presentation.
Contact: Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, firstname.lastname@example.org, 085 864 0682