In an article published in the Irish Times on Monday, 9th July, the ICI released a report where it mentioned concerns specifically regarding migrant children. One in seven children in Ireland is an immigrant, and the needs of this growing group must be addressed. The stigma on this group could have a detrimental effect on their emotional, social, and cultural well-being.
Many of these children have grown up in Ireland, and have rooted themselves well in Irish society, speaking fluent English, receiving high marks in school, and establishing a wide network of friends and peers. They are required, at the age of sixteen, to obtain a GNIB identification card, clearly establishing them as different from their peers, and costing up to €150. This card must be presented whenever requested, and often prevents students from acquiring after school employment or participating in extra curricular activities.
Not only does the GNIB identification card cost €150, but if a migrant student has not been naturalised to become an Irish citizen by the time she is ready to go to college, she faces the risk of being charged international student fees. These costs are exorbitant and often well outside of the means of immigrant families.
The article stresses how disruptive and upsetting these bureaucratic measures can be on a young migrant, and calls for reform as soon as possible. Not only does the ICI call for a closer look at the tuition fee structure and the immigration laws in general, but the Council believes that preventing racism, xenophobia, and negative social stigmas is crucial to assisting migrant children’s full integration into Ireland.