Sunday, March 18, 2012

Senator Grassley moves forward with a proposal on E3 visa bill

Senator Grassley moves forward with a proposal on E3 visa bill

Republican had opposed Sen. Scott Brown’s bill currently in the Senate

ANTOINETTE KELLY - Staff Writer - March 18, 2012

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa has come forward with an offer to move the E3 visa bill ahead. The bill would allow 10,500 Irish to come legally to America on renewable work visas.

“An up or down vote on Sen. Brown's Irish visa bill would be acceptable to Sen. Grassley with some modifications dealing with the skill level of those receiving an E3 visa,” Beth Levine, communications director for Grassley told CNN.

However, Levine warned that talks were ongoing adding that Grassley’s staff are “still discussing modifications with the sponsors of the bill."

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has lined up 53 Democratic senators behind his version of the E3 bill.

Grassley had been holding up passage of the bill in the US senate as well as linked legislation that would allow more skilled emigrants from India and China.

Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass) was criticized this week concerning the lack of progress on the E3 visa bill which would allow 10,500 annual work visas for Irish immigrants. The bill is an amendment attached to a wider bill dealing with hi tech visas for Indians and Chinese.

On Febuary 8th, Brown said the visa bill he filed was “about to pop” on Capitol Hill however as of late there was been no significant developments.

In a statement to CNN, Brown’s office said the E3 visa was vital to the Irish community.

"For decades, the Irish have been unfairly shut out by our immigration laws. In an effort to increase visa prospects and maintain the close bond between the United States and Ireland.

“Sen. Brown is working in a bipartisan way to add the Irish E3 program to larger, House-passed visa legislation that benefits several other countries."

Brown's Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren agreed that many skilled Irish cannot access the U.S. because of the current system.


Some Thoughts on the "Irish E-3 Visa Program"

Lets get real, folks. The proposed "Irish E-3 Visa Program" is nothing more or less than a useless piece of “feel good legislation” that would allow some of its self aggrandizing supporters to pat themselves on the back, but which totally ignores the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals.

Less than a week ago, I read an article which stated that 300 Irish per week have been coming to New York, not to the United States but to one city in the United States, in search of work. They must be coming on visa waivers since there has been no legislation passed recently that would allow them to come here with work authorization. What is going to happen to them when their visa waivers expire? The answer is simple. Most will elect to stay here and will lapse “out of status”. They will then join the thousands of Irish nationals already here in that very unenviable immigration category.

How can advocates of the so called “Irish E-3 Visas” possibly fail to recognize this already large and constantly growing problem that begs to be resolved NOW before advocating for more Irish to come here on “temporary non immigrant work permits” that cannot be converted to permanent residency visas. It is far more beneficial to the United States of America and to all concerned to allow our undocumented Irish nationals to adjust their status and continue to pursue their ultimate goal of American citizenship. Proponents of the “Irish E-3 Visas” would serve our own undocumented Irish nationals, “E-3 visa recipients” who could also wind up “out of status” when their visa extension requests are denied, and Irish American immigration activists, in a much more meaningful way if they would get honest and tell the truth about the many negative aspects of this seriously flawed visa program.

Tell the truth about the apprehensions for minor infractions, the protracted detentions in prisons with hardened criminals, the eventual deportations followed by a ten year bar from re-entry. Tell the truth about how the passage of the proposed “Irish E-3 Visas” will inevitably drive our undocumented Irish nationals further underground. Tell the truth about the drastic increase in cases of severe depression, the increased usage of drugs and alcohol, and yes very sadly, the increase in suicides.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rates of Irish emigration to New York mirroring that of early 20th century

355,000 Irish nationals have emigrated in six years

KERRY O'SHEA - IrishCentral Staff Writer - Monday, March 5, 2012

With a dismal economic forecast, Ireland is losing more and more of its population to emigration every year. Ever since the glory days of the Celtic Tiger came to an end in 2007, the rate of emigration has gone up every year since citizens look to new horizons for better opportunities.

The New York Post reported on Sunday that hundreds of Irish workers are coming to New York every month looking for employment. The staggering numbers of those emigrating are particularly profound when considering Ireland’s relatively small national population of only about 4.5 million people.

About 355,000 Irish people have emigrated out of Ireland in the past six years.

Ireland’s emigrating population does come typically highly qualified when venturing outward to places like New York for work. More often than not, those emigrating are highly educated, multilingual and boast specialized skills, traits that the last major wave of Irish emigrants could have only dreamed of.

“There’s a much better economic climate here than in Ireland,” said Natasha Barnwall (25), a Dublin native with a master’s degree in management consultancy. “I will stay as long as possible.”

25 year old Shaun Kennedy, who emigrated to Connecticut as a computer developer, said, “The days of the Celtic Tiger are gone, but if you work hard here, employers will reward you. I have a very keen 18-year-old brother who wants to come out to work after his [high school] exams.”

The rates of emigration are visibly impacting Ireland. “There are no teenagers left in parts of Ireland, that’s how bad it is,” said Frankie McMonagle (40) who, after 13 years of working in New York, had optimistically returned to Ireland to find work only to return back to America after being unsuccessful.

“The people are so depressed at home because of the economy,” he added.

Despite waves of Irish emigration at the moment, American immigration law has not been overly accommodating for those looking for working stateside. Senator Charles Schumer, a loud advocate for Irish immigration rights in America, told the New York Post that proposed alterations to immigration law will make it “virtually impossible for Irish nationals to work legally in the United States in jobs where Americans are not available.”

Senator Schumer is fighting hard, along with other Irish and Irish American community leaders, for a “Irish E-3 visa bill,” which will help repair “our broken immigration system to ensure that we reward legal immigration and deter illegal immigration from one of America’s strongest allies.”


The vast majority, if not all, of these young Irish immigrants are coming here on visa waivers which will expire “in the blink of an eye”. What will happen to them then? Undoubtedly, most will elect to remain here and lapse into a category called “out of status” or in plain English “illegal immigrant”. It is an unfortunate fact of life that if this happens, Senator Schumer’s “Irish E-3 Visa Bill” will be of no more use to them than it is to our undocumented Irish nationals that are currently living here in the U.S. now and that is, very frankly, NO USE. Bearing this very strong possibility in mind, does it not make much more sense to work on legislation that would solve the plight of our undocumented first, foremost, and permanently before campaigning for “temporary non immigrant work permits” for which our undocumented Irish here in the U.S. are not eligible.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America