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.