Friday, March 16, 2007

Irish Independent report on Ahern comments following St Patrick's Luncheon on Capitol Hill

...two of the most influential women in American politics yesterday threw their weight behind the campaign by the "undocumented" Irish for immigration reform.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, gave a commitment to "do all in my power" to have legislation passed this year, while Senator Hillary Clinton said the best way to make progress on the legislation was through a bipartisan approach between Democrats and Republicans. Mr Ahern yesterday met Sen Clinton, who told reporters she hoped to return to Belfast alongside her husband as President of the United States. He also met leading Irish-American politicians, including Senator Ted Kennedy.

Sen Clinton said the drive to legalise the status of the 30,000-plus "undocumented" Irish living in the United States had "energy and momentum."
She said thousands of Irish-Americans had recently gathered in Washington to press their case and "we will be searching for a way to bring the parties together in both Houses of Congress . . . but we have to look for the right way to put the legislation together in order to pass it."
The Taoiseach said the government recognised the complexity of the situation, which involves 12 million immigrants altogether in the United States.
"I would like to see a bill through this year, but it is clear we have to try and get what is achievable," he said.

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