February 20, 2006


Irish Immigration Slips Into Reverse: As Post-9/11 Security Increases Pressure on the Undocumented, Emerald Isle Offers Haven (Michelle Garcia, February 20, 2006, Washington Post )

By now the shipping container carrying Jonathan Langan's material life in the United States has arrived in Ireland. The plush green furniture, his American flag and the construction tools of his trade are all gone from his Queens apartment.

Langan, a lanky, red-haired Irishman, was bidding a final farewell to his adopted country. He didn't leave for want of work -- his fledgling construction company was booming. Success was his problem. The more prosperous his company became, the more Langan feared he would get snared by immigration agents.

"You don't want to give off red flags because you're not supposed to be working," said Langan, 24, who lived illegally in the United States for three years. "It's too dangerous, what happens if you get caught."

The green is draining out of the Irish immigration boom that revitalized neighborhoods across New York over the past two decades. Fear of getting caught in a post-Sept. 11 net coupled with the booming economy in Ireland is drawing thousands of Irish back to the Emerald Isle. Numbers vary on how many have left: The Irish government estimates that about 14,000 Irish returned from the United States since 2001, with more than half of them coming from New York. The Census Bureau reported that between 2000 and 2004, the Irish population throughout the United States shrank by 28,500 people, to 128,000.

That'll make Buchanan and Tancredo happy, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2006 10:35 AM

Just another inequity of the immigration system. I wonder how many illegal Mexicans are going back south because of the clampdown. Not many, I bet.

Posted by: Twn at February 20, 2006 10:57 AM

I'll ask a stupid question. Why don't they just try and immigrate legally?

Posted by: RC at February 20, 2006 11:21 AM

The quotas for immigrants from Ireland are fairly small, I believe. They don't add to our 'diversity'.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct. at February 20, 2006 11:29 AM

You've got me, that's all the Irish anybody ought to need.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 20, 2006 11:52 AM

Here's another way to look at it, how bad can it be to turn loose many thousands of people who wanted an American lifestyle. It can only improve the world.

Posted by: RC at February 20, 2006 11:57 AM

Haha! Well, Ireland's economic fortunes have been picking up anyhow, so it's not surprising that a fair number would have been heading back home even without better enforcement. But I am amused -- nativists have been wanting to get rid of those Irishmen for generations, and at last they have succeeded!

Posted by: Taeyoung at February 20, 2006 12:22 PM


Because we have existing anti-Catholic immigration limits.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2006 12:39 PM

Half this story is about Ireland and its fortunes, not the US (shock, horror... it's NOT always about us!).

And why are it's fortunes positive enough to see this phenomena?

Is there any country in the entire EU that has, over the past ten years, cut more taxes and been more business friendly... hell, downright Reaganite (an Irishman, remember), than Ireland?

Any country in the EU? Any takers?

Didn't think so.

Now, go to your typical college campus and explain that to the left, and watch them roll their eyes.

Sure, Ireland's doing OK..... but Fidel offers free health care!!! (so I'm told)

Posted by: Andrew X at February 20, 2006 1:22 PM

"Now, go to your typical college campus and explain that to the left, and watch them roll their eyes."

Left will probably reply that it's easy enough to get low rates approved by unions when a country is swimming in EU subsidies.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 20, 2006 1:41 PM

He's going home and their economy's slowing down.

Posted by: Sandy P. at February 20, 2006 11:51 PM

What are "the existing anti-Catholic immigration limits"? Mexico, a predominantly a Catholic country, provides more legal immigrants to the United State than any other nation.

Posted by: Tennessee Republican at February 23, 2006 12:36 AM