"The determined optimism of the Irish people has enabled them to grab hold of hope in the United States, from South Boston to the south side of Chicago. It's an optimism expressed in three issues so important to Irish Americans today: a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, an American immigration policy that keeps faith with our tradition of offering opportunity to those who seek it, and strong economic and cultural ties between our two nations.
"We must also pursue immigration policies that keep open the doors of opportunity in our own country. My father's experience has informed my own views on the issue, and I have seen the enormous contributions that Irish immigrants have made to this country. Last summer, I joined hundreds of thousands of people in Chicago to march on behalf of immigration reform, walking shoulder to shoulder with many Irish Americans who shared their own personal stories of hope and opportunity.
"Yet our system is broken, and fixing it demands a comprehensive approach. Last year, I reached across the aisle to work with Republicans on this. Our proposal would strengthen border security and prohibit employers from hiring illegal immigrants, but it also recognizes that the deportation of 12 million people is impossible.
"That's why it proposes a tough, earned path to citizenship for those in the United States illegally; replaces the flood of undocumented workers with a new flow of guestworkers; and ensures that law-abiding immigrants are welcome to pursue their dreams."The ties between America and Ireland go far beyond bloodlines. U.S. investment in Ireland helped create the Celtic Tiger, and Ireland's economic success has in turn led to a boom in Irish investment in the United States. Incalculable cultural exchanges draw us together, as do common causes and common beliefs.To read Senator
Obama's full statement as published in the Irish Echo, click HERE.