The Department of Justice has been briefing journalists with incorrect information about the upcoming regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants/amnesty for illegal immigrants. More specifically, the Department has been telling journalists, both in direct briefings and now in a written press release, that multiple studies support the claim there are 17,000 illegal immigrants in the country.
Most recently the Department put out a press release containing the following claim, “There is no reliable data on the number of undocumented persons in the State but studies suggest there could be up to 17,000 undocumented persons including up to 3,000 children.” That claim, that the figure of 17,000 is supported by multiple studies, has been repeated by a number of national media organisations. Some of those outlets have noted that the claim comes from the Department, but others, including the Irish Independent, have reported the claim as a statement of fact totally disconnected from the Department.
It appears that the claim made by the Department is not true, and that there have not been multiple studies that have estimated that there could be up to 17,000 undocumented persons in this country. The number comes entirely from an estimate put out by the Migrants Rights Council of Ireland (MRCI), an NGO which has been advocated for the adoption of an amnesty for years.