Thursday, January 04, 2007

Irish Government committed to securing legal status for the Irish undocumented in the US

The following article describing the Irish Government's committement to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and the undocumented Irish in the US recently appeared in the Western People:

Ring keeps the pressure on for illegal Irish in US
1/3/2007 - 11:28:17 AM

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has given assurances that the Government is committed to securing legal status for the thousands of undocumented Irish in the US. He was responding to a Dáil question from Mayo Deputy Michael Ring who quizzed him on what progress was being made in the campaign.

Mr. Ahern said the Government attached the highest priority to the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States. He went on: “I continue to raise our concerns in all of my dealings with key figures in the US administration and legislature, including during a wide ranging discussion
which I had with the new US Ambassador on Nov. 1.”“

In the period since the mid-term Congressional elections, I have written to a number of senior US legislators to congratulate them on the outcome of the elections. In doing so, I have taken the opportunity to emphasise again the Government’s deep interest in the issue of the undocumented. Our Ambassador in Washington is also active in highlighting our concerns in his on-going contacts with the incoming Congressional leadership, as are officials of our Consulates across the United States. I was happy to meet again with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR). ILIR is proving highly effective on Capitol Hill and beyond in communicating the Irish dimension to the documented issue and I have been happy to support it financially. This was the third in a series of meetings that I have had with ILIR since September and it provided a valuable opportunity to review the situation following the mid-term elections.

I will be keeping in close contact with them in the period ahead.” I now look forward to a further intensification of the Government’s efforts on behalf of the undocumented in the period ahead, in particular with key Members of the incoming Congress. Overall, my initial assessment is that the recent elections have given a boost to the prospects for reform, though the issue of comprehensive immigration reform remains difficult and divisive both in Congress and in the United States generally.

“I should emphasise also that I very much welcome the continuing commitment of Senators Kennedy and McCain to the advancement of the comprehensive approach to immigration that they have long promoted and which the Government strongly supports. I also greatly appreciate the recent reiteration by President Bush of his on-going commitment to comprehensive reform in this area. “The Government’s overriding objective continues to be to ensure that our undocumented citizens in the United States can regularise their status, travel freely to and from Ireland and ultimately secure a path to permanent residency.

“The Government’s overriding objective continues to be to ensure that our undocumented citizens in the United States can regularise their status, travel freely to and from Ireland and ultimately secure a path to permanent residency. Despite all the difficulties and challenges, I look forward to further progress on this priority issue for the Government in the coming period.” Deputy Ring said he too had traveled to the US and met with representatives of the Irish community who expressed concern that sufficient pressure was not being put on the US authorities to resolve the undocumented problem.

“This is an issue that is impacting severely on thousands of illegal Irish who cannot come home for family gatherings for fear of being stopped at Shannon and being refused entry to the US. The Taoiseach will have to up the pressure from every quarter so that this is sorted out in the short term,” concluded Deputy Ring.
To access a link to the article click HERE.


Kevin O'Hagen said...

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern would be wise to strike a deal with the US to give some incentive for America to give favorable treatment to Irish illegals. For example:

1. Offer residency and legal status to American illegals living in Ireland. (Equal to same number of illegal Irish in America)

2. Offer more Irish work and residency visas to Americans. (Equal to same number of Irish working in America)

3. Speed the deportation of Irish convicts in American jails - so they can serve their sentences in Ireland - paid for by the Irish people, not the American people.

4. Stop encouraging illegal immigration to US - stop the "nod-nod wink-wink" attitude. And promote respect for US immigration laws.

5. Fully comply with providing passenger lists to the FAA, and insure all Irish nationals leaving on US-bound flights, have legal visas.

6. Extradition treaties for fugitives from US immigration laws hiding in Irish Republic.

7. Crack down on Irish-based gangs producing false identity documents.

8. Crack down on Irish-based gangs involved with human smuggling.

9. Securing Irish passports to comply with biometric, and other tamperproof standards set by US Homeland Security

This isn't a one way street where America must be forced to swallow the whole enchilada. Only by rational negotiations in good faith and in the spirit of mutual "give and take", will this crisis be solved. America does not react favorably to intimidation.

If the Irish government brings something favorable to the table, and not come with empty hands - only wanting to take something away, only then can an accommodation be reached. America has been helping Ireland for years; even as far a supporting her bid for independence and giving her her first president. The historical link is undeniable . Now that Ireland is a prosperous and strong nation, it's about time she steps up to the plate.

LUKE said...

^^^^Quite a long list of red herrings. But even an school of red herrings does not make a logical argument out of irrelevant points. Nevertheless, since you took the time to list a bunch of red herring arguments that imply the Irish govenrnment is violating US sovereignty by supporting legalization of the undocumented Irish living in America, I have preared the following numbered responses.

(1) You imply there are 50,000 undocumented Americans living in Ireland who share the same fear of exposure and deportation and isolation from their family abroad. Please tell us more about these American expats living undocumented in Ireland. Like, for instance, do they exist?

(2)How many Americans seeking to immigrate to Ireland were turned away for want of a work visa last year? Okay, how about ever?

(3) How many "Irish convicts" are currently incarcerated in America and await deportation at the end of the incarceratory sentence imposed upon them by American Courts under American law?

You resent Irish gov't attempts to seek change in US immigration laws, but expect and demand that the same Irish gov't somehow unilaterally change American penal laws (state and federal) to expedite extradition and pay for the continued incarceration in Ireland of these fictitious hordes of "Irish convicts" after their deportation.

(4) You imply, that the Irish government is actively encouraging illegal immigration to the United States. Apart from the hat you pulled that one out of, have you got any support for this wild allegation?

(5) US bound passengers are screened by US customs before the flights leave Ireland. The US govt is in charge of issuing visas to the US, not Ireland. The US gov't is in the best position to control who gets into the US from the airplanes that land here. You imply that the Irish gov't should provide lists of passengers (the airlines create the lists and provide them to the FAA. Whether the FAA providses this list to some other US agency is a matter for US, not Irish law).

(6) US immigration wants to import Irish immigration violators in order to deport them? Are there not enough undocumented people in the currently US for them to deal with? This point contradicts your call to immediately deport the hordes of "Irish convicts." Do you want the Irish government to send them back to the US for a quickie trial in the luggage claim area and then fly them right back to an Irish prison?

(7-8) "Irish-based gangs?" Gangs based in Ireland or Irish gangs based in the US? How many of these scary "Irish-based" gangs are there? How many of them have tailored their illicit schemes of human smuggling and fake US document provisions to the Irish community? Most undocumented Irish enter the US legally and overstay visas. Do you even have anecdotal evidence on this one?

(9) You imply Homeland Security has set such tamperproof biometric passport standards. Have they? Are US passports in compliance with this new standard? Is Homeland Security now in charge of unilaterally legislating international travel document standards? Don't they have enough to do?

One way street? Seems like the US is getting everything it wants from the Irish these days (eg - US military flights stop in Ireland and US corporations benefit from generous incentives provided by Irish law). Precisely what role did the US gov't play in granting Ireland deValera?

What has the US done for Ireland -- more importantly for the undocumented Irish who love this country -- lately?

What is wrong with the Irish gov't looking to do what it can to help the undocumented family members of the Irish people they are elected to represent.

Intimidation? Where are the threats?

Rational two-way negotiations do not start with the false implications and unrealistic proposals that make up the list of red herrings above.

If anything, the US shoould see the strong historical links with Ireland and successful history of Irish immigration to the US as an incentive for getting the Irish undocumented in the US on the path to legal status immediately, before the stalling and delays make them leave and the US misses out on the future contributions of these people and their children.