Thursday, June 29, 2006

Irish Storm the Hill

A sea of "Legalize the Irish" tees shirts flooded Capitol Hill yesterday.

Irish-Americans from all over the country came to tell Congress they should get on with the work of comprehensive immigration reform by appointing the conference committee to move the legislation forward immediately.

The Irish-American visitors to the Hill questioned the wisdom of further delay on legislation to secure our borders. They explained that every day of delay is another day of suffering for the undocumented Irish, the communities they live in, and their families at home.

Ordinary people demonstrated just how important this issue was to Irish America, by taking extra personal and vacation days to travel to DC the week before the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

As they met with legislators and staff in dozens of scheduled appointments and knocked on doors seeking additional walk-in appointments, the message was crystal clear: Irish-America is keeping a keen eye on the issue of immigration reform.

Summer interns and other young adults eagerly approached Irish Lobby delegates for a Legalize the Irish tee shirt. In the House cafeteria, one young woman from Utah expressed her love for the Irish and her support for legislation that could help them earn legal status.

In the late afternoon, the Irish Lobby delegates returned to their staging point for a massive rally. Numerous elected officials scrambled to participate and express their support of comprehensive immigration reform. The Cray & Dempsey Experience provided musical entertainment at the event.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Sam Brownback (R-KS) were among the dignitaries lucky enough to address the crowd. The crowd was also addresed by Massachusetts Representatives Jim McGovern and Richie Neal, and New York Representatives Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Joe Crowley (D-NY). After speaking, Representative Crowley picked up a guitar and shared a song (the Girl from County Down) with the crowd.

Those of you who joined the Irish Lobby on Capitol Hill are urged to share your story of the day in the comments section.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Heritage

Hundreds packed into the Heritage last night for an evening of laughter in support of a very serious cause.

The raucous and happy mood was set by the comedic and musical genius of the Cray and Dempsey Experience.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform Committee took the stage in wacky contumes and performed zany send-ups of each other that were enjoyed by all.

The highlight of the evening might have been when the favorite son of Erin and New York, John Duddy, finally met his match in a faux-fight with "The Bomber."

What appeared, on the surface, to be a carefree night filled with Irish laughter, masked the serious concerns of a community that faces dissolution unless Congress passes real comprehensive immigration reform.

Those that went to the Heritage did their part to support the hundreds who will rise before dawn on Wednesday June 28th to board the buses to Capitol Hill where they will sound the voice of Irish-America in a call to "Legalize the Irish!"

Irish-American communities throughout the country face the same set of dire circumstances. We must get Congress moving on immigration reform.

It is truly now or never.

We're in stoppage time. We need to go hard at it until the final whistle.

This is the ultimate elimination game. Win or go home. Literally.

We can win this one.

When we do, will you feel proud to have sat on the sideline and done nothing? Take the field and be part of the victory.

There is still time left to to get in the game.

Join the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in Washington on Wednesday.

Sign up for the bus.

Make your way there anyway you can.

They're not the first to try it, but we have to tell Congress they will not brand the Irish as felons.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

St. Barnabas

Monsignor Barry and the Parish of St. Barnabas graciously permitted speakers from the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform to address parishioners before each mass today.

The speakers invited parishioners to join the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform.

Parishioners were urged to sign up for the National Lobby Day and Rally in Washington, DC this Wednesday, June 28th. They were told free buses would depart from Katonah Avenue at 5:00am Wednesday morning.

Parishioners unable to travel to Washington on Wednesday were told they could help by calling their representatives in Washington to voice their support for comprehensive immigration reform.

After addressing parishioners before the Italian language mass, one Irish Lobby speaker was stopped by several Italian-Americans eager to offer their support.

The community is banding together in support of its undocumented members.

St. Mary's Hall

A great crowd gathered in St. Mary's Hall tonight.
The cause was comprehensive immigration reform.
The craic was ninety.

Hundreds piled in to support the cost of buses that will transport us to Washington.
Those buses will carry the Irish toward a path to earned legalized status.
During the War of 1812, the British stormed Washington and set the city on fire.
Next Wednesday, the Irish will light up the town with their charm.

History is in the making.

Join the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and help push Congress back to the serious work of providing our nation with an immigration system that works.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Know-Nothings are Do-Nothings

The anti-immigrant Know-Nothings in the House rushed the enforcement only HR 4437 through in December.

Did they call long drawn-out hearings? Nope.

They just made sure the bill would pass by slapping the word "Antiterrorism" into the title.

I don't know about you, but if I got called to vote on a bill I never read and saw the magic word "Antiterrorism," I'd vote "Aye" and know I couldn't be accused of voting against something that was labeled "Antiterrorism."

Six months after they passed HR 4437, House Republicans are calling for "hearings" before they do the real work of hammering out a difficult compromise between their unenforceable enforcement-only House Bill and the Senate Bill (S. 2611) that provides for comprehensive immigration reform.

The Know-Nothings in the House have a chance to Do Something about our nation's broken immigration system.

Instead, they want to stall and delay and Do-Nothing.

They want hearings. The hearings are not planned for primetime TV lights in DC.

They are plannning to hold these so-called hearings back in their Districts during the summer when anyone who might attend or read about them in the paper will be away on vacation and focused on vacation.

Why did they not study immigration thoroughly before passing HR 4437?

If HR 4437 is so vital for Border Security and Anti-terrorism, how can we afford further delay?

Are the border-crossing terrorists calling a time-out for summertime hearings and lemonade back on Main Street?

Are the House Know-Nothings also shameless cynical Do-Nothings?

The undocumented Irish and their Irish-American supporters are doing something about immigration.

We know we can't afford to wait. We won't go away and let the cynical House Know-Nothings slip another horrible bill by when nobody is watching.

The only place we are going is back to Washington for a massive Lobby Day and Rally in on Wednesday June 28, 2006.

They want hearings? Well, we're gonna give them an earful next Wednesday.

Join us. Call your Congressman and tell him to stop stalling and pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The good ship Catalpa

Last night, in a traditional Irish bar in the Bronx in the heart of the Irish neighborhood, that is being devastated because the Irish who inhabit it can not get greencards, a hero stepped up to the plate. Eugene, an Irish immigrant himself and successful business owner, donated his night's takings at his bar the Catalpa to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

The place was packed from early with all sales going to the cause. The bar, in my opinion, is aptly named after the American historical ship that rescued six Irish revolutionaries from Australia in 1875 and returned them safely to New York under the protection of the stars and stripes.

Last night, an man made his effort to help rescue and revive his neighborhood of Irish immigrants to stay in America and become legal. I know the six revolutionaries who stepped off the ship had no green cards. They were welcomed with open arms and they dedicated themselves to their new home.

Today the fifty thousand Irish immigrants want to dedicate themselves to America and get legal and are working hard on the campaign to lobby Congress but everyone knows that money is required to do this.

Eugene and his staff know this and gave their night's takings, yes the bartenders put their tips in too. The community responded by turning up all night into the wee hours to put their money where their mouth is. As an Irish immigrant who desperately needs the greencard I will forever be grateful to the Catalpa for their generous gesture to help the Irish immigrants stay in America. Thank you Eugene last night you were our Captain Anthony who rescued the Irish with the good ship Catalpa and brought them safely to the United States.