Irish E3 Visa Bill hangs in the balance

Declan McAteer Posted by
declan@newrytimes.com
Friday, March 16th, 2012
Community

Speaking prior to departing for New York, where he will spend St Patrick’s Day, Sinn Féin Newry and Mourne Councillor Pat McGinn has said that the Irish E3 Visa Immigration Bill, currently being discussed in the US Senate “hangs in the balance”.

The Newry and Mourne Councillor, who has been actively involved in highlighting the issue of the many thousands of “undocumented Irish” living in America said that hopes were fading to persuade the Senate to pass his Irish E3 Visa Bill. The bill would allow 10, 5000 Irish a year to go to America on non- immigrant two year visas that would be renewed every two years.

McGinn said, “The initial positive reaction by a broad spectrum of politicians to the Bill has not at this stage ensured the passing of it through the Senate. However, Boston based Hugh Meehan, a native of Lissummon told me over the weekend that he and many others were still actively involved in intense negotiations with many leading American Senators. They are trying to find a way to pull this Bill over the line. Hopefully we will get it there, it would make a great St Patrick’s Day gift for many.”

He continued “This no doubt that the passing of this Visa Bill would be welcome news, although for those classed as “Undocumented”, it at this stage will offer little else but hope. It would certainly be a platform for the plight of the “Undocumented Irish” to be once again highlighted and then hopefully we would see a united lobby here in Ireland so that a pathway to legalisation for tens of thousands of Irish people in America will finally be obtained.”

The Councillor stated that a feature in the New York Post stated that hundreds of Irish workers are coming to New York each week in the search for employment and a better future. “The New York Post reported recently that hundreds of Irish workers are coming to New York every month looking for employment. The staggering numbers of those emigrating are particularly profound when considering this islands relatively small national population. Despite waves of Irish emigration at the moment, American immigration law has not been overly accommodating for those looking for work stateside, and we must continue to advocate for Irish immigration rights in America.”

The Sinn Fein elected representative said that he was looking forward to meeting up with many local people who now lived in America. “Matthew Macklin, who I know through the Poc Fada and the GAA, is boxing for a World Title in Madison Square Gardens on St Patrick’s night and I am meeting up with many friends there. Many of us will also be coming together up earlier in the day to participate in the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade and to watch Crossmaglen Rangers and Loughgiel in the All Ireland Club Footballl and Hurling Finals.”

He concluded “I will have a son working in Washington this St Patrick’s weekend, and another one working in Australia. This will be the experience of many families from our area, that’s the way it is, but I am sure that on this St Patrick’s Day, we will be especially thinking of them and wishing them all ‘Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!'”


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