Monday, December 12, 2011

Senator Schumer set to introduce immigration bill in Senate to help Irish

Bill would allow up to 10,000 non-immigrant work visas yearly for Irish

Niall O’Dowd, IrishCentral - December 10, 2011, 7:34 AM

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is set to introduce an immigration bill in the senate on Tuesday which would allow up to 10,000 Irish a year to come to America on work visas but not green cards.

Schumer says that leading Democrats Senator Pat Leahy and Senator Richard Durbin will co-sponsor the legislation and he is seeking support from Republican senators as well.

The Schumer move came after he met with 20 Irish community leaders at his New York office on Friday.

The Irish community leaders had expressed their dismay that a bill that passed the House two weeks ago and is now in the senate, allowed more green cards for Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Mexican immigrants but actually took away green cards from Ireland.

The new Schumer move is based on the E3 visas, which were given to Australia some years ago for their support in the Gulf War. Under the terms of the visa up to 10,000 Australians a year can come to America once they have a job offer and can renew their non-immigrant visas indefinitely.

Schumer’s bill would introduce the same House bill that passed two weeks ago in the senate with the E3 visas added.

In the senate Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa has stated that he will oppose the original bill and not allow it expedited passage but there is mounting pressure on the Iowa Republican to let it pass.

Schumer stated that if the bill did not pass he would work on a different bill for next years’ legislative session that would help the Irish.

Bart Murphy, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform who flew from San Francisco to be part of the meeting stated afterwards he was very satisfied with the hour-long session.

“We know we have a great friend in Senator Schumer,” he said “and we look forward to the introduction of the new bill. We will work with Irish organizations across the US too bring pressure to bear on legislators to pass it.”

Key Republican senators such as Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Marco Rubio in Florida will be especially targeted by Irish lobby members.


It is a sad testimonial to the so called friends of the Irish in Congress if this is the best that can be done to alleviate the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals currently residing in the United States. In actual fact, it would give precedence to prospective Irish immigrants with college degrees and the promise of a job here and does nothing for those that are already here in an undocumented status. The hue and cry since the ILIR was established in 2005 has been “Legalize the Irish”. For the uninitiated, that expression was in reference to those already living here out of status, not those who had yet to leave Ireland. The resulting groundswell of enthusiasm was in anticipation of a campaign to pass legislation that would once and for all resolve the plight of undocumented Irish nationals who had come here out of shear desperation because their own country could not support them. What has happened to that noble effort? Is it going to be abandoned for an E-3 non-immigrant (temporary) type visa program which does absolutely nothing to resolve the plight of our undocumented Irish and, once again, leave the intended recipients of our original goal on the outside looking in? If so, all of our efforts have been a failure and we should all be ashamed of ourselves.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

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