How can I move my family back from Ireland to the U.S.?

K—Answer: You could have free government-run access to other countries’ property, but make sure it’s not in your family. Why? Federal law prohibits the entry of extended-family members, including a spouse, a child under the age of 18, or a parent or grandparent whose child is currently in a detention facility. You should also make sure your visa is valid in the U.S. and abroad. And remember that you may be subject to a full vetting by the U.S. government, which could delay or even cancel your entry.


Shannon Nuch was horrified to discover that her father-in-law was being held in a deportation detention facility in Dublin, Ireland. Her husband and son were waiting for Nuch’s father—an Irish citizen—to leave a detention facility in Fairfax, Virginia.

Nuch, a U.S. citizen, has a green card and therefore was permitted to take her family with her to the United States. But she needed her father to return to Ireland after a supervised release hearing to have him evaluated and to renew his travel documents. He had lost both his travel documents and his employment authorization because his criminal record had been revoked in the United States.

Nuch and her family waited in hopes that the hearing could be held at a detention facility in Dublin, a facility where she could fly with her husband and son to see her father. “It was the plan for me to go with my husband and my children to Ireland on the date of the hearing,” she says. “That’s what we had expected to happen, and that’s how my husband had contracted his flight.”

In the event that the hearing was not allowed in Dublin, she would be blocked from a swift departure from the United States because her husband and son would not be able to fly into Dublin for her to join them on the plane to Ireland.

“I don’t believe that that should be the case,” she says. “When my father-in-law went into the hearing, he was held in detention and remained in the London Centre in Fairfax until the hearing was scheduled.”

In her case, Nuch and her husband’s lives were jeopardized because she needed her father, so she left with just a few items for him—including a box of greetings cards from his grandchildren and a photograph of her and her husband’s children. Nuch left a large bag full of books to be returned to him upon his release.

It’s unclear whether Nuch’s father will be able to leave the detention facility.

“Obviously, I’m really upset that my father-in-law is not being freed from immigration detention in the U.S.,” Nuch says. “We are hoping that he can be released and returned to Ireland so that he can go home.”

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