Feb 24th, 2014 by ILIR staff
Now that the New Year is well under way, media coverage of immigration is picking up so we will be posting articles that we spot that we think are worth sharing. Check back regularly to read the latest.
Sep 10th, 2013 by ILIR staff
As members of Congress prepare to go back to work next week, Irish Americans have been working to persuade them to pass Immigration Reform. ILIR President Ciaran Staunton explains the backdrop to the current immigration crisis in this piece from RTE Radio in Ireland.
He discusses the problems faced by the Irish since the 1965 Immigration Act – an Act that the late Senator Edward Kennedy described as having negative and unintended consequences for the Irish then, and now, some 50 years later.
Staunton says the current immigration reform efforts would end the 50 years of No Irish Need Apply that arose from that act.
Listen to the clip here: http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A20427383%3A0%3A%3A
Jun 30th, 2013 by ILIR staff
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform strongly welcomes the Senate vote in favor of S.744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
The bill, which passed 68-32, includes two very important provisions for the Irish community:
The bill will put the Irish undocumented on a path to legalization.
The second will allow for a 10,500 renewable E-3 visas annually for people from the island of Ireland.
The immigration debate now moves to the House of Representatives where ILIR President Ciaran Staunton met with Paul Ryan (WI-R) last week.
Speaking after the vote from Capitol Hill, ILIR president Ciaran Staunton (pictured with Ryan, center, and Irish senator Mark Daly) said: “This is the best opportunity in 50 years for Irish America to open a door that has been closed.”
“It is also the golden opportunity for our 50,000 undocumented to get started on their pathway to citizenship.”
“Now is the time for Irish Americans across the country to call their member of Congress and urge support for the immigration bill.”
The ILIR will ratchet up lobbying with all members of Congress and plans to organize phone banks for Irish Americans across the U.S.
Real chance for the Irish
“We do not intend the Irish to get left out on the cutting room floor again,” says Staunton.
“This bill provides for the first time in years a real chance for the Irish undocumented to come out of the shadows and have a better way of life.
“What is needed now is for everybody both in Ireland and the US to use their contacts and get backing from the House for this Bill.”
Staunton is working with all major Irish American groups from coast to coast to mobilize support for the bill.
Over the next few weeks, the ILIR will be holding community meetings in Boston and New York and other cities and details of those meetings will be posted on Facebook.
“The Irish community can’t let this opportunity slip by. This bill would solve the problems of those who are here undocumented and it would help the ones coming out from Ireland in the future. We have to keep pushing it forward and get it done, once and for all.”
How you can help
Find your member of Congress http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Phone his or her office
Say: “The Irish American community wants (your Congress member name) to support immigration reform.”
Please remember to like ILIR on Facebook - this is the quickest and easiest way to keep up to date.
ILIR Update from the Hill
Today, the Senate took the next step on the road to comprehensive immigration reform. They voted on S.744 which passed 82 to 15. This was a procedural vote to begin debate and is another huge step forward on the path to comprehensive immigration reform and one that ILIR has been working towards for a long time. In the House today Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted that immigration reform would become law by year’s end.
We’d like to take this time to update you on what we’ve been doing and what you can do to help!
In recent weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time on the Hill, lobbying on behalf of our community and making sure the Irish dimension doesn’t get overlooked in this crucial phase of the immigration debate.
Last week, we met with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and he assured us of his support for the bill and the Irish alike. ILIR meets Rep Paul Ryan article The ILIR delegation also met with many Senators and Republican members of Congress.
This week we’ll be on the Hill again, meeting with the Republican Senators who still need persuading (please see list below). We need your help now to make sure they understand what this legislation means to the Irish community.
Due in large part to the lobbying efforts of Irish Americans community in New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte put her support behind the immigration bill on the Sunday morning news shows. The ILIR Boston along with the Mass AOH were very active in this effort.
We are now carrying out a similar campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Maine and Nevada, and we need your help urgently!
Call the Senators listed below and if you know people living in their states, please ask them to call.
Our message is clear:
“Irish American community wants Senator X to vote for immigration reform.”
They need to hear from Irish American now more than ever!
- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)………………………..(202) 224-4254
- Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)………………………..(202) 224-2523
- Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio)………………………..(202) 224-3353
- Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill)………………………..(202) 224-2854
- Senator Heller (R-NV)……………………….. (202) 228-6753
Over the next few weeks, we will be holding community meetings in Philadelphia, Boston, New York and other cities.
Philadelphia, on June 19th at 8pm, at the Irish Center (Commodore Barry Club)
6815 Emlen St., Philadelphia, PA, 19119. (corner of Emlen St. and Carpenter Lane)
Spread the word and make sure that we have a full house on the 19th! Details of all our meetings will be posted on Facebook.
Please remember to like ILIR on Facebook – this is the quickest and easiest way to keep up to date.
Mar 25th, 2013 by Clippings
By Noel Whelan, Irish Times
View the original article
Biden was back from Rome in time, however, to host a breakfast for Kenny on Wednesday morning. The vice-president got another opportunity to savour the St Patrick’s week atmosphere at a special lunch in New York on Thursday to mark the induction of six prominent Americans into the Irish America magazine’s Hall of Fame.
Biden himself was one of the inductees this year along with former ambassador Jean Kennedy-Smith, former congressman Bruce Morrison and the hotelier and newly elected chair of the American Ireland Fund, John Fitzpatrick.
The vice-president was also the keynote speaker at Thursday’s lunch and he used the event well, not only to reconnect with his Irish-American base but also to say something significant about how Irish America should play a key role in supporting the Obama administration’s proposals for immigration reform. Irish America should do so, he said, not just because of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States but because the Irish emigration story should inform Irish American understanding of the plight of the 11 million illegal Hispanics and Asians now stuck in immigration limbo in the US.
Biden, who was born in the Irish American heartland of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has strong Irish roots. In a piece for the most recent edition of Irish America magazine the genealogist Megan Smolenyak put the vice-president as roughly five-eights Irish. His mother’s entire family tree traces to Ireland with the other eighth coming from his father’s side.
His most prominent links are with the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth from where his mother’s grandfather Owen Finnegan came. A blind musician who arrived in New York on his own on May 31st, 1849, he began making a new life for himself as a shoemaker and brought his family over a year later.
Biden spoke of the impact his extensive Irish heritage had on his upbringing. His grandaunt Greta inculcated a boyish anger and terror in him for the atrocities committed by the Black-and-Tans, although she never set foot in Ireland.
Biden also told the audience how he credits his Irish heritage for the strong sense of self-confidence and fairness his mother schooled into him. “Show respect to every one,” she told him, “but demand respect from all.” He said she repeatedly said: “Everyone is your equal but no-one is your better.” When as a young senator he got the opportunity to meet the queen in London his mother warned him to be polite but not to bow or kiss the queen’s ring. He thought this arose from anti-monarchist sentiment on his mother’s part until years later when, as vice-president, he got to introduce her to Pope John Paul II and she again warned him not to bow or kiss the ring of anyone.
Biden’s folksy tales to his Irish-American audience in New York were entertaining but it became clear they had a purpose. As is customary now on such occasions he spoke of how the Obama administration recognises the need to address the plight of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US.
Biden went on, however, to set the plight of the undocumented Irish in the context of the 11 million people, most of them Hispanic and some Asian, living illegally in the US for whom he said a pathway to US citizenship has to be found. He floated the notion of a transformation in the legal framework which would allow the undocumented to come out of the shadows, register their existence, and join the queue along with external applicants for full citizenship.
Speaking of how the idea of a pathway out of illegal status for these 11 million people has met with great resistance, Biden reminded his audience of the prejudice faced by the Irish when they first began to arrive in the US in large numbers. The Ku Klux Klan, he pointed out, was “about more than blacks”; it was also an organised movement against further Catholic immigration.
He told of how otherwise respectable politicians and newspaper editors of the time had warned that these Catholic immigrants with all their children and their religion would swamp the established American way of life. For decades Biden said the Irish had seen their religion denigrated and their lifestyle caricatured in catch cries: “they breed like rabbits ”, “they drink all the time”.
“Hispanics” Biden told his fellow Irish Americans “are just as proud and noble as our forefathers and mothers were”. They too wanted to make a contribution to building a stronger America. He pointed out that 17 per cent of those at universities in the US today are Hispanic and they account for 11 per of the US armed forces.
Irish Americans, Biden said, should know “a whole lot better than most” why the US needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Irish America, he added, had the capacity and obligation to give not only their own undocumented but the rest of the 11 million illegal immigrants the real prospect of a full life in the US.
To this observer at least, it seemed Biden was trying to leverage Irish-American opinion, which might otherwise be expected to resist legal status for so many Hispanic and Asian immigrants, to actively support Obama’s reform proposals. It also serves Biden’s own political purposes perhaps. If he should run for president in 2016, this pose as a champion of immigration reform will do him no harm with the now decisive Hispanic vote.