Monday, February 27, 2006

Can I see my grandkids?

I am a granny who doesn't see my grandkids only when I can afford to go to see them as I live in Ireland. It's expensive and not easy, it's a long journey for a cuddle but worth it. Give me a break and let them come to see me.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Breda: I'm ready to fight now

I was at my first meeting in Woodside and it really did empower me to make my contribution. I am so glad that I happened upon Rory Dolan's a few weeks ago even though the meeting was over. Last night, the speakers were so inspiring and comforting that I honestly felt like crying. I had another miserable Christmas, missed weddings, funerals, unable to comfort sick relatives, see my parents, sisters, brothers and nieces and nephews. I never felt like I had a right to feel bad or mad. Now I realize that I should feel angry. I have always believed that passion is the motivating factor behind EVERY success story. I was really impressed with the energy in the room - the speakers, the crowd and all the volunteers.

I somehow fell into PR through working in the film business at home and in NYC. I spoke briefly with Niall McDowd and told him that I would like to help by trying to enlist as many Irish or Irish American celebrities as possible to endorse the campaign and generate as much buzz and media coverage as possible. The combined efforts of us undocumented, our wonderful advisory board, Niall, Ciaran and Kelly, the volunteers should make us very a powerful group.

I will definitely be going to DC and I want Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Bono, The Corrs to come too. We need these people to help leverage media and make the campaign as high profile as possible. I am confident that we could get generous Irish American people to sponsor travel if needs be. We need quotes and words of support as this will raise our profile and educate people in a positive way.

Business owners especially those in the construction business should reach out to their workers and make sure that everybody knows about the ILIR. I will be reaching out to as many influential people as possible.

My Irish American cousins are behind me. My American friends are behind me. America still loves us but they are not aware of the seriousness of the situation. Just this morning, my 12 year old cousin Mickey said "If Poppy and Grandma didn't come here on a boat from Ireland, I would not exist and he also said "I would be in tears if you had to leave." He even wants to lobby in DC, God love him.

We are unified and I am glad. I have managed to get some work in the Arts but it has been a hustle and a struggle. I feel worried, alienated, guilty, hampered and anxious and my attempts to block it out are failing more and more as time goes by. We should not be criminalized and I will do everything I can to spread the word and force the senators to step up and help us in a positive way. I am so over the Xenophobia. The action component is what we Irish need. We stuck it out here. I have had so many people say "You are educated, why do you want to be in a country that does not want you or care about you? It's getting harder to defend my reasons for being here, seriously. We are living under unnecessary duress and it is not fair. We are good, honest, hard-working, creative, funny people and we deserve better.

Let’s make it happen, I am not disappearing under the radar any more. Being labeled "an illegal alien" is really insulting. I really admired the two female speakers who took to the podium last night- Good Job Girls. HE WHO DARES, WINS!!! Now we need some good news!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Susanne: An Irish woman in New York.

Every time I talk to people about living in New York as an undocumented immigrant the depressingly repeated question again and again is - why do you not go home? I have so many, many things to say to this that I bowl them over with my response and before I bowl you I will try to compact all of the buzzing words in my head in to this one simple statement: I am home, this is my home, my new home. I and countless Irish immigrants like me are home.

Have people forgotten what America is? Has the idea of coming to America and making it your home dead? What happened to the idea of a coming to a new place to raise your family to begin a life that was once just a hope in your heart?

Economic reasons are not the defining reasons why people emigrate, it most definitely once was a big motivation but not for all and not for me.

The Irish economy is doing so well and I am thrilled that things have changed in Ireland. However that is not grounds to just pack up and head out of a wonderful life that I created for myself here. The immigrants are not swans that flew south for the winter. We're not going to go flocking home now that it's that bit warmer (economically at least) now.

This is all related to what constitutes a life for each person, the friends you have here, the networking you have achieved in different areas, in work, in sport. The climate of the country and so many more little things that make your life in America, well your life. It is patronizing to get confused when people stay undocumented and do not move home to Ireland.

It is not a rejection of Ireland to want to live in America, the Irish immigrants I know celebrate their Irish heritage even more since living in America, along with embracing America.

The Irish Americans have shown time and time again that you can quite beautifully be both. So why can't we? Give us the chance we so desperately deserve to be the Irish Americans of the future. We choose this country with passion and sacrifice please now let this country choose us and adjust our status before it is too late and we do tragically go home and the future life blood of that great cultural marriage between Ireland and America will be sucked dry.