The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) is gearing up for a new campaign on behalf of legal access for Irish immigrants to the US.
The ILIR will be returning to Washington next month for meetings with members of Congress who hold senior positions in the committees overseeing immigration reform.
Chairman Niall O'Dowd and Vice-Chairman Ciaran Staunton both attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington and held several meetings with key members of the new administration as well as the powerful Friends of Ireland in Congress.
They reported that there is a new consensus at both the Senate and House level to move forward on immigration reform over the next 12 months.
In addition, ILIR lobbyist Bruce Morrison and Irish American Democrats President Stella O'Leary have met with the Obama administration on the issue.
Immigration is already one of the key issues on the agenda for President Barack Obama and he has underlined that commitment by naming a number of seasoned immigration advocates to senior posts.
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano - who has spoken out in support of comprehensive immigration reform - will be the Secretary of Homeland Security. Her role will include overseeing the various immigration agencies that are part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Meanwhile, Cecilia Muñoz, our former colleague in the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform has been named to a top post in the White House itself. Ms Muñoz - a veteran immigration campaigner - has been named Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the White House. Ms. Muñoz was most recently vice-president at NCLR (National Council of La Raza), and was a long-time member of the National Immigration Forum's Board of Directors.
In addition, ILIR supporter Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY) is the new Secretary of State, and Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, will be Attorney General.
Meanwhile, the new Irish Intern Work and Travel Program is now operational. Irish college students or recent graduates can submit their applications now for visas that will allow them to live and work in the US for a year. Information on this program can be found at www.dfa.ie or at www.iicenter.org/services/J1-iwt.htm If you have any questions on the new working holiday visa in the US, please contact Peggy Comfrey, Director of International Programs, on (001)617-542-1900 ext. 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ann Marie Byrne 617-542-7654 ext. 16 or email@example.com
If you have any other queries, please contact the ILIR directly,
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform