Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ILIR meeting in Queen's New York Tomorrow

If your family or friends live anywhere near New York please please please tell them about this meeting. Text, phone or email them. Just make sure they know it’s on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama promises immigration reform follows health care deal

Yes We Can!

What a great boost in the arm having the US Health Reforms go through is. Now we can back to work on Immigration Reform!

An article on the website over the weekend really said it all.

Click here for full article or read below.

by Patrick Roberts.

Prospects for immigration reform are suddenly brighter as it looks increasingly likely that a deal on health care will be struck by the Congress and a pledge from President Obama that immigration will be up next.

According to The New York Times the Obama administration has made clear its next two priorities are jobs and immigration reform. In a conversation with wavering Democrats "the president warned that his other priorities — jobs and immigration — would be tougher to achieve if the health bill does not pass." The Times reports.

Obama is quoted saying saying, "If we fail at this it’s going to be harder for us to pull the line on this other stuff. It is going to weaken our presidency.”

But earlier fears, fears that the health bill might be stalled, now seem to be fading and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has clearly become far more confident that she has the 216 votes in the House to pass the legislation.

If that is the case then the president has given his word to the Hispanic caucus that he will make immigration a definite focus. He made it clear at a St.Patrick's party at the White House that he was ready to focus on immigration reform.

Sunday's rally in Washington for immigration reform just as the health care bill is being debated will also focus attention on the issue.

Obama would also be greatly strengthened by a health care victory which will inevitably strengthen his hand on immigration too.
" President Obama will prove he can get health care through" predicted Ciaran Staunton president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. "He is the first president since Roosevelt who has succeeded if he does. Immigration reform can be got through this Congress as well."

There are an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish citizens in America with more coming as the Irish economy flounders.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Irish American Leaders Push Forward for Immigration Bill

Happily it seems our cause is starting the year on a positive note.

New York-based, Irish Central recently publish an article explaining that the White House had sent out invitations to Irish American Community leaders nationwide to attend a special briefing. The briefing on “comprehensive immigration reform” will take place tomorrow.

To read the full article click here

However here are a couple of uplifting and interesting quotes from the article -

“The administrations objective is to secure Irish political strength to help the forthcoming immigration reform bill through Congress when President Obama is ready to submit it, which sources say will be shortly.”

Stella O’Leary, president of Irish American Democrats was quoted saying “My guess is if President Obama brings in the bill in the spring it will be passed before the November elections. With the help of the Irish, that is!”

Is féidir linn!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hopeful Vigilant and Prepared

I just received the ILIR quarterly update which I thought I would share with you.

ILIR’s message is most certainly a positive one. Their work is continuing and so must ours. Happy New Year to all our members and let us look to immigration reform in 2010.


"Welcome to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform's last quarter report for 2009.

The question on all our minds is what are the chances of Comprehensive Immigration Reform passing in 2010? The best answer we can give is that we are hopeful and remain vigilant, concerned and prepared.

With Healthcare Reform proposals having passed in the House and Senate and heading for likely resolution, we are a step closer in the queue to having Senator Schumer's CIR proposals introduced in Committee and that's the starting point. It will need bipartisan support in the Senate and House to move forward.

And for that to happen, CIR will need willingness to compromise on behalf of the various interest groups. That's where real courage comes in: acceptance of the greater good rather than one's own view of perfection.

You will see from the articles below, ILIR has been very busy these last three months bringing the Irish dimension to the immigration reform debate to various key stakeholders in US politics.

We have received assurances from every one of them of their support for comprehensive reform for the undocumented and the inclusion of an Irish E-3 visa to provide for future migrants. Future meetings are in the works with Senators and Congress members in Montana, Maine, Arizona and Louisiana.

Many thanks to our friends in the Ancient Order of Hibernians for their support and help in these meetings.

In the meantime, local Irish groups have a crucial role to play in positively influencing the build-up to immigration reform. We have included a list of suggestions, detailed below.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do let me know. My email is

Is Féidir linn!

Happy New Year to you all!

Bart Murphy
Chairman, ILIR "


Irish Central – 11th Dec 2009
Senator Robert Menendez pledges support to ILIR

Irish Emigrant – 9th Nov 2009
Congressman Delahunt Pledges Leadership on ILIR Reform Proposals

Irish Echo – 11th Nov 2009
The new Donnelly?
Staff Writer Article

Belfast Telegraph – 12th Oct 2009
Better late than never for Hillary Clinton's Irish love-in

What you can do to help....

As we await the introduction of an immigration reform bill for us to work with, there is work to be done on the local level to ensure that we have support going forward.

In 2006 and 2007, the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform was fought on the national stage but was lost on the local stage. When it came to the crux, Senators followed the wishes of their constituents and the bill was defeated.

Supporters of immigration reform for the Irish undocumented will never be able to out-phone or out-fax the opposition - our numbers are too small while theirs are in the 10's of millions. What we can do is broaden our field of support within the larger Irish American communities throughout the US.

Here is how you can help:

Be realistic about what's happening and what ILIR and the Irish government can do. Playing the blame game is a waste of time.

Turn your Congressman into a leading advocate. Convince him/her that he/she needs to represent the 10,000+ Irish living in his/her community and support Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Talk to your local diocese. Irish and Irish American priests should be giving sermons from the altar on Sunday. It is a moral issue to support immigration reform - it's the American way, the Christian way, the Catholic way.

Create a campaign to work on your city politicians, council members, Mayors, trade union leaders - any Irish American in a position of power. You need to demand that these people speak truth to power and not just pay lip service.

Get your elected officials on message - "I represent an Irish community of upwards of 0,000. I support Comprehensive Immigration Reform and you should too."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stop History Repeating Itself

Any conversation I have with my peers these days always seems to revert to what we will be doing this time next year. Unfortunately 20 percent of us are currently unemployed, one third of us are considering immigration and over 60 percent of us fear that we may lose our jobs within the next few months.

Fourteen years ago, I am certain, my sister and her friends had the same conversations. She’s been in Manhattan for 14 years and could not be happier. My sister’s situation, and now the tough decisions that my generation has to face, are the very reason the immigration in the US must be reformed.

Over the last year the Irish have been arriving to the US in their droves. They are arriving looking for work, looking to make a life for themselves in the US where many generations of Irish before have been so successful. The fact remains that through history the Irish have travelled to the US and this is not going to change.

Though the unemployment figure in Ireland, for today, seems to show a tiny improvement, the fact still remains that three out of 10 young males are unemployed in Ireland. In total the figures show that over 12 percent or over 422,500 people have signed on the dole this month. So far this year 67,000 people in Ireland have been given redundancy packages in Ireland and more will inevitably come before the Christmas holidays.

This is the ‘Brain Drain’ all over again. An article in the Irish Times said it all this week as those who are planning to leave and have left Ireland told their stories The article’s depressing headline read “Ireland is a disaster….leave now and enjoy your life”.

All of this just illustrates how important it is that we continue to push forward with immigration reform in the US so that there is some kind of bilateral agreement and we are not condemning thousands of young Irish to become undocumented.

Work is certainly being done by our friends the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, who are quietly working away in the US. Last week Ciaran Staunton, President of ILIR, along with ILIR consultant, Bruce Morrison met with Republican leader, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and South Carolina Ancient Order of Hibernian board member Jim Lawracy.

On our side of the Atlantic, Minister Michael Martin recently announced that the Irish Government has allocated a grant of €50,000 to the ILIR. He also attended a series of meetings in Washington and met with the ILIR on a recent visit. We need to keep this progression moving both for our friends and families in the US but for the next generation of Irish who will without doubt continue to travel to the US.

Please email or call your local politicians offices, thank them for their work thus far and encourage them to continue working for the Undocumented in the US. Perhaps you could tell your local politician about the member of your family or your friend who you will be missing this Christmas.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Minister to discuss undocumented in Washington

The Irish Times (

Martin to discuss illegal Irish in US

Wed, Oct 14, 2009

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin has this morning begun a four-day visit to the United States.

The Minister’s is in Washington this morning where he is due to deliver a keynote speech to the European Institute entitled “Equipping the EU for global challenges: an Irish view”.

Minister Martin will then travel to Capitol Hill where he will meet senior members of Congress including senators John McCain, Chris Dodd, Paul Kirk, Lindsey Graham, Bob Casey, Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Richie Neal, chairman of the Friends of Ireland. Minister Martin will brief the senators on the outcome of the Lisbon referendum, the current situation in Northern Ireland, and the recent Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh.

The Minister will also raise the issue of the Irish undocumented in the United States and will be meeting with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).

Minister Martin will tomorrow travel to New York for the inaugural meeting of the new Ireland-US Leadership Council. The grouping brings together leaders of the main Irish-American organisations with national reach in the business, community and cultural fields.

On Friday The Minister will address a business breakfast for 60-70 invited guests at Ireland House. Those invited include key clients of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, and key figures in the New York business world.

During his visit Minister Martin will also meet with the leaders of the main Irish community support centres in the US. He will host a reception at Ireland House in New York for local Irish community organizations. The Minister will also visit a project in Rockland County where the Irish Government has joined with the GAA in funding the development of the local sports grounds.

On Saturday Minister Martin will attend an interfaith service on Staten Island on Saturday 17th to commemorate those Irish famine emigrants who died while quarantined on arrival in New York and he will visit the Mission of our Lady of the Rosary to view their extensive archival records of Irish immigrants.
© 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Hope for Undocumented Irish

New hope for undocumented Irish as USCIS prepares for surge in visa applications
Agency says it needs to be ready to accept 10m applications in just a few weeks


Visa hope: USCIS is quietly preparing for expected upsurge in applications
Undocumented Irish immigrants have been given new reason to hope that immigration reform is on President Obama's agenda.

This follows a report in The New York Times that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency has quietly begun preparing for an expected upsurge in its workload.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of USCIS, says it is planning ahead for the possibility of comprehenive immigration reform.

Mayorkas says that President Obama has already told immigration officials that the White House proposal will include a legalization program and “We are under way to prepare for that.”
Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center say there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

The USCIS is concerned that it would not be able to handle the expected flood of applications if a legalization program was approved.

For example, it currently processes some 6 million applications in 12 months and immigration experts believe the agency would need to be prepared to deal with some 10 million in the space of a few weeks.

Meanwhile, two Massachusetts police have pulled out of a program which authorized them to enforce federal immigration laws.

The police departments in Framingham and Barnstable have said the program was too costly and did nothing to help fight crime.

"It doesn’t benefit the Police Department to engage in deportation and immigration enforcement,’’ Framingham’s chief, Steven Carl, said. “We’re done. I told them to come get the computers.’’