16 February 2006 Edition
Irish American campaign builds for immigration reform
BY RITA O'HARE
More than 500 people packed into Rory Dolans in Yonkers, New York, on 27 January for the second public meeting of the newly-formed Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, indicating the importance of the issue for thousands of Irish in the US.
Over the next four months or so, the US Congress and White House will make key decisions on illegal immigration, decisions which will affect the estimated 40,000 Irish undocumented. The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform wants to make sure there is an Irish voice in the immigration debate.
Some right-wing Republican bills would enforce new laws without any amnesty provision for illegals. The Irish Government has shown the way with clear backing for the bi-partisan McCain/Kennedy Bill which would grant the undocumented a path to a green card bring in new enforcement laws.
At the January meeting Niall O'Dowd, editor of the Irish Voice newspaper and Ciarán Staunton spoke of plans for an effective lobbying campaign.
There have been two subsequent packed out meetings in Philadelphia and Boston and the campaign is gathering momentum.
A lobby day is being planned for Washington DC on 8 March. This issue will be a major one during St Patrick's Day events. The GAA in the United States is supporting the campaign.
- Information on the campaign is available on the ILIR website www.irishlobbyusa.com.