McGinn: “House of Representatives bill should include provision for Irish immigrants”

Declan McAteer Posted by
Monday, December 12th, 2011

Newry and Mourne Sinn Fein Councillor, Pat McGinn has said that it is essential that the forthcoming discussion in the House of Representatives includes provision for Irish immigrants. The discussion relates to the latest proposed Immigration legislation and the elimination of country based-caps on the number of employment visas issued annually and the boosting of similar limits for immigrants sponsored by a spouse or relative in the United States.

Speaking to Newry Times, McGinn explained, “On November 29th 2012 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3012 by a vote of 389-15. The bipartisan bill would eliminate country-based caps on the number of employment visas issued annually and boost similar limits for immigrants sponsored by a spouse or relative in the United States. It would not increase the total annual admission numbers. The effect of the bill would be to increase the number of green cards issued in the next several years to natives of India, China, Mexico and the Philippines, while decreasing those received by natives of other countries, including Ireland. Current immigration law sets a limit of 140,000 visas annually for employment-based green cards and 226,000 for family immigrants other than spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (who are not limited).”

He continued, “The law limits natives of any given country to 7 percent of those admissions. But the system is beset by extensive backlogs, with some immigrants waiting decades to get work visas. The employment based limit would be eliminated by H.R. 3012, while the family-based limit would increase from 7 percent to 15 percent. Because there will be no added visas, these increases to four countries must be deducted from other countries. This adds to the problem natives of Ireland already have in achieving green cards.

McGinn also spoke about Senator Charles E. Schumer, who will this week offer an amendment to H.R. 3012 to address this issue. “This amendment would create a legal channel for those seeking to come from Ireland now and an option for those currently here in undocumented status to go home and return legally. The solution would allow for a permanent future flow of long-term temporary residents who will remain eligible for green cards under existing categories. It may also provide relief through temporary work visa categories that will allow some of the undocumented Irish to qualify through waivers.”

Additionally, Councillor McGinn stated that he had been contacted by many from the Newry and Mourne area now resident in America asking him to encourage all politicians to contact Senators from the House of Representatives and ask them to support the Amendment which will be decided upon by the senate early this week. “I have contacted Senator John Kerry and Senator Scott Brown asking them to support this new companion bill which will include the Irish E3 Proposal. Whilst there is still much work to be done on the issue of the many thousands of undocumented Irish, the passage of this Bill would give a much needed boost to the ongoing campaign.”

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