Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Letters to the Editor in the Irish Times

Immigration reform in the US is a complex and politicallypoisonous issue. No comprehensive solution has been proposed thatwould resolve the plight of millions of illegal immigrants.
In a political system that thrives on special interests and with norelief in sight for any undocumented immigrants, why shouldn't theIrish lobby for an agreement based on their historical and ongoingcontribution to the United States?

Trina Vargo's opposition on moral grounds to efforts to legalise theIrish smacks of elitism. The strong cultural, economic and financialties that now exist between Ireland and the US were built on the backsof labourers who came here over many years. The new Ireland has led toan influx of educated Irish professionals to the US but there are manyIrish who didn't reap the benefits of the Celtic Tiger and for whomAmerica represents a better life. Her ill-judged comments demonstrateher abject unfamiliarity with all the realities of the Irish inAmerica and the Irish American world that exists outside ofphilanthropic boardrooms.

- Yours, etc,
MARY McEVOY, Yonkers, New York, USA.

I am a 39-year-old, second-generation Irish American and I aman ardent supporter of a deal for all illegal immigrants living inthis great nation. Trina Vargo's article in The Irish Timesis terriblyflawed from an economic and political standpoint. The fact that shehas worked for Senator Kennedy leads me to believe she has a fairlygood understanding of how politics influence legislation in the UnitedStates. If, in fact, a "small" group of Irish-Americans can influenceCongress to pass legislation for illegal Irish immigrants, she wouldbe a fool not to think that similar legislation for illegal Mexicanimmigrants would soon follow. There has to be a "jumping-off point";someone or some group has to blaze the trail so that all may follow.This great country was created by people who were not afraid to go outand blaze trails so that others might benefit.

As for her glowing economic analysis of Ireland and the "CelticTiger", she has conveniently exposed herself as an advocate ofsocialism. I find no mention of Ireland's oppressive tax rates,economically depressed traditional industries and a socialised healthcare system that is a complete failure. Canadian citizens, alsovictims of socialised medicine, enter the United States daily for MRIsand other tests that they would have to wait months for back home.

I suggest she reads Milton Friedman's classic book Freedom to Choose,because essentially all illegal immigrants want is the freedom tochoose. My grandparents came to this country from Ireland seeking abetter life and they were met with: "No Irish need apply". Who are weto repeat those words to the Irish immigrants or any other immigrantsin the year 2007? History and God will judge us poorly if we continueto force hard working, honest people to live in the shadows of freedomthat so many of us take for granted.

- Yours, etc,
EDWARD NELSON, Long Beach, New York, USA.

I am rather disturbed to hear that Trina Vargo, formerKennedy adviser, is so against legalising illegal Irish immigrants inthe US. I know many of the Irish here with young American children whoare leaving the US in droves.

They are replaced by Asians, many of them Muslims, whom US securitythen spends years monitoring. While legalising the Irish may beselective it amazes me that, with 50 million US citizens of Irishdescent, the Irish Government seems so powerless to help the diaspora.Israel, with only about 5 million, does not seem to have any problemwith legalising foreign Jews, but then the Jews stick together, whilethe Irish are so divided.

Many middle-class Irish here in the US who despise the undocumentedIrish forget the fact that many of them got in the back door, oftenillegally, in the past. But that was pre-9/11, of course.

- Yours,etc,
Fr BRENDAN DUGGAN, St Mary's Church, Woodside, New York, USA.

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