I’ve been following the blog posts by my friends in Ireland, and the comments they have generated. To clarify on a couple of points:
- Regarding St. Aloysius’ and my possible disregard of immigration requirement of enrolling Denyce in a “private” school: I cannot find the specific correspondence, but I did contact UCC ISO (International Student Office) who I believe (this is the detail that I cannot find in my emails) ran our arrangement by immigration officers in Cork who found it acceptable. I am not completely clear on that last point, but know that I did discuss it with ISO. The main concern seemed to be that we did not place a burden on the Irish state.
- In my discussion with the officer at Dublin, St. Aloysius’ seemed to be a peripheral topic, and that the overriding issue was that dependents of those carrying student visas were not allowed at all, contrary to the information provided by Cork officials to UCC. In retrospect, I probably should have been in direct contact with the immigration offers myself, however, felt that ISO would be more than capable of handling the issue. I misread an early email from UCC and thought that they were more familiar with this kind of situation. Apparently I was a first for them, or at least for the person that was assisting us.
- Regarding immigration control: I don’t advocate free and open borders anywhere. I’m part-native American myself, and have lived among native Hawaiians for most of my life, though I myself am not. Lord knows both of these people would have been much better off had they been able to control immigration early and with vigor. I have never brought up the number of Irish, both legal and illegal, who have emigrated to the US, though others have. It is not germane to the discussion AFAIAC. As one commenter put it: a sovereign nation that cannot control its own borders can hardly be called sovereign.
- Some have suggested that perhaps UCC could provide employment to me that would help my family accompany me. I had been asked to teach a class in Hawaiian music to upper-level students at UCC in the spring semester. I mentioned this to the immigration officer in Dublin, but did not want to push the issue as I though it could only complicate the discussion. We have not discussed in depth whether the school will provide me a tuition reduction in exchange for my lecturing, if they can pay me, or how else. Even before the incident in Dublin, I was prepared to forgo any compensation for teaching the class just to see it offered. I was simply happy that I would be able to share the music and culture of Hawai‘i with students at UCC.
I am not asking for anyone to be held accountable for what is happening, nor am I interested in assigning blame for our situation. I would simply like to find a way to land in Ireland, start my Ph.d. and allow my daughter to spend a year going to school there, at no cost or inconvenience to the Irish people. I want to move forward and if possible forget about our experience in Dublin. If I were allowed to do so I would happily meet with the officer who refused our entry and buy him a meal and a drink. He was obviously a dedicated public servant who took pride in his job and acted as he felt necessary. If our experience results in changes that saves future students the hardship we have, that would be wonderful and perhaps provide a second happy ending to our tale.
What is most important to me is that people in Ireland who read about our story understand that we acted in complete good faith, feeling we had done everything required of us. We enjoyed the hospitality of Ireland for a month just over five years ago, and I enjoy it daily in my interactions with Irish people on the social networking space. They are a close second to the people of Hawai‘i in their kindness and generosity, though I am certain there are plenty of horror stories of people visiting Hawai‘i and the U.S. as well. We are quiet, humble people by nature, and would simply like to experience Ireland to the fullest, and expose to anyone who is interested our knowledge of Hawaiian language and culture.