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 - IrishCentral.com 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