Obama on undocumented Irish: Our immigration system is broken

Barack Obama greets Enda Kenny at a St Patrick's day reception. Picture: AP

President Obama says the thousands of Irish immigrants in the US are being denied opportunities because of the US strict immigration laws.

The President was speaking the traditional Shamrock ceremony at the White House as part of the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

The issue of immigration reform was a priority for the Irish Government delegation, led by Enda Kenny.

The delegation has been lobbying in Washington during the St Patrick's Day trip for reforms to benefit the 50,000 undocumented Irish there.

President Obama said too many undocumented Irish were denied the chance to contribute to society as they were not able to pay taxes through the tax system.

"The American dream has always been the Irish-American dream," he said, "and that's why so many of you have been working with us to fix our broken immigration system.

"Under today's laws, your parents and grandparents may not have made it here. Too many men and women who want to contribute to our economy are being denied that chance."

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