Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny spoke on the importance of immigration while visiting the White House on St. Patrick’s Day, taking the time to reflect on America as a compassionate refuge for immigrants over the years — all while President Donald Trump stood right next to him.
"We were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore," Irish prime minister says with Donald Trump in the room. pic.twitter.com/7jEfTVvIzE
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) March 17, 2017
“It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate Saint Patrick,” Kenny said. “He, too, of course, was an immigrant, and though he of course is the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he’s also a symbol of, indeed the patron of, immigrants.”
All while saying these words, a visibly uncomfortable President Trump stood to Prime Minister Kenny’s right, looking on as Kenny continued to speak about the importance of immigration.
Irish immigrants “came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed, and four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore,” Kenny added. “We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and we became Americans.”
Immigration standards in the U.S. are an important issue to many Irish citizens. More than 50,000 Irish are considered to be living in the U.S. illegally at this time.
President Trump is struggling with a Muslim ban his administration tried to impose through executive order. A federal court in Hawaii recently deemed that ban to be unconstitutional. Trump has also said many distasteful things about immigrants from Latin American countries that have caused concern for millions living in the country.