A father of three was arrested and deported from Dublin Airport while attempting to visit his children in the North.
Ryan Volrath, an American citizen who currently lives in Wisconsin, met and married his Northern Irish wife 10 years ago and she gave birth to two of their children in America.
His wife has since returned to her home town of Omagh and given birth to their third child, however, Mr Volrath has remained in the US as he does not currently meet the financial threshold needed to apply for residency in the UK.
Mr Volrath had planned a trip for 10 days to see his children when he was detained on Sunday evening in Dublin Airport when asked by immigration officials about the purpose of his visit.
Despite Mr Volrath having a return flight booked and having stated his intention to return home, he was arrested by gardaí and taken to Clontarf Garda station where he spent the night before being deported early the next morning.
“I only wanted to visit my family for 10 days, then return to the US where I am employed,” Mr Volrath said.
“It was a surprise for my three children on my birthday and I was whisked away without the chance to see them.”
His wife Kylie Volrath said the family are devastated not to have their father home to visit.
“It’s overwhelming, I’m feeling a bunch of emotions at once,” she said.
“While all this is going on, I still have to tend to kids and deal with and figure it out all by myself.
“It’s a challenge but one we are prepared to fight.”
She added: “The boys have no idea any of this is happening.
“We got to see each other briefly before they took him back to the airport, which was good, but Ryan is absolutely heartbroken.”
Detailed submissions have been lodged by Phoenix Law on behalf of Mr Volrath seeking to challenge the validity of Mr Volrath’s detention.
Solicitors representing Mr Volrath said they believe that the so-called “hostile environment” immigration stance being implemented by the UK and current Brexit tensions are the reasons for the deportation.
“It is hard to depart from the theory that such unwarranted and unreasonable removals are closely tied with the UK’s pending exit from the European Union, with the Irish authorities now operating a much more rigid and aggressive regime regarding entry to the North of Ireland, via Dublin Airport,” solicitor Sinead Marmion said.
“The UK’s pervasive hostile environment policy is being mirrored in the Irish state. This case, if left unchallenged, would set a very dangerous precedent for future individuals who seek to return home and visit their children and families.”
“In light of the reasons we have been provided to date, we remain of the view that the decision to remove Mr Volrath on Monday morning was unlawful and we have firm instructions to challenge the validity of same.
“It is still very much our position that the Irish state’s actions have infringed our client’s human rights and we have firm instructions to initiate proceedings against the Irish state for his removal.
“These proceedings will seek to have this incident expunged from his records, and to claim damages for his unlawful detention and infringement of his right to family life.”
The Border Management Unit (BMU) at Dublin Airport has been contacted for comment.