Irish Echo Staff - February 27, 2013
John Deasy and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore “enjoyed a frank exchange in the Dáil” last week on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the U.S., this according to a statement from the Waterford TD’s office.
“The problem is that there never has been a plan B put into operation either by this or the previous government. There have been a lot of false dawns. While we have made progress with regard to the E3 visa, as the Tánaiste has said, it will not cover the bulk of the undocumented Irish. Who is the Tánaiste speaking to on the Republican side, the usual suspects?” said Deasy.
“The reality is that over the last ten or 15 years we have lost sway on Capitol Hill and we have lost sway in particular with the Republican Party. The House of Representatives is held by the Republicans and the opinion of that party on immigration has hardened over the last five or six years. We have not made any inroads into that party in terms of convincing it that a standalone deal, if necessary, is good for the Republicans. I wish to remind the Tánaiste that when it came to the green cards, it was Republican presidencies that allowed that to happen, namely former Presidents Bush and Reagan,” Deasy. who once worked as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, added.
“The Visa Waiver Bill, which has helped Ireland so much over the last 18 years, was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress. The Clinton administration was actually against it. Unless we have a return to the kind of situation that we had 20 years ago with, in particular, the Republican Party and if comprehensive immigration reform fails again we will be left in the same position in which we currently find ourselves,” he said.
It would appear that Waterford T.D. John Deasy, unlike many of his colleagues in Dail Eireann, believes in dealing with reality. The reality is that the plight of undocumented Irish nationals currently living in the U.S. is paramount and must be dealt with and permanently resolved before the attention of Dail Eireann and Irish immigrant activists in the U.S. is turned toward future flows of immigrants. Also, the proposed “Irish E-3 Program”, in its present form, is not a solution to future flows of immigrants from Ireland in that it is a “non-immigrant visa”. There is,currently, no provision to convert the “E-3 temporary work permit” to a permanent residency visa and eventual U.S. citizenship.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America