Paul Connaughton in US to lobby for Irish illegals
Thursday March 8th 2007
By Tom Gilmore
GALWAY EAST T.D. Paul Connaughton was one of an all-party delegation from the Dail at a rally today (Wednesday) in Washington to try to pressurise the American political establishment to introduce legislation legalising 50,000 undocumented Irish currently living there.
Deputy Connaughton says he will be meeting with several well known US. senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill before attending a rally when it is hoped that over 3,000 undocumented Irish will converge on Washington from all over the US.
“No other nationality in the world with undocumented citizens in the United States can muster up so much support and despite the fact that there are approximately 50,000 undocumented Irish compared to over 12 million total immigrants, the Irish lead the way in this hard fought campaign,” said Deputy Connaughton.
The existing Kennedy-McCain proposals which would have allowed Ireland’s undocumented to work and to come and go from the US. as they saw fit had to be withdrawn when the mid term elections were held in the US last November.
But there is now a window of opportunity whereby if legislation is proposed and debated in the U.S. Congress inside the next six to eight weeks it could become law.
If this legislation is delayed until the autumn of this year the chances of it getting through in the shadow of the forthcoming U.S. Presidential election will be very remote.
“The leaders of the legalise the Irish campaign in the U.S. intend to hold a national rally in Dublin in mid April to enable Irish families show solidarity with their undocumented relations in the U.S. and I expect a huge attendance at this event, including many from Galway,” said Deputy Connaughton.
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Crowe addresses Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform Rally in Washington
Published: 7 March, 2007
Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe is in the US this morning to express Sinn Féin's support for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform rally on Capitol Hill in Washington today. Speaking at the rally today Deputy Crowe congratulated the organisers and said the proposed new McCain Kennedy Bill has the potentials to provide a pathway to citizenship for the many thousands of undocumented Irish Americans."
Deputy Crowe said, "Regardless of people's politics, the issue of undocumented Irish Americans and all the hardships that go with such status has to be resolved in a humane manner. I believe the new McCain Kennedy Bill provides the way forward. It represents a pathway to citizenship for the many thousands of undocumented Irish Americans.
"I would like to congratulate and thank the organisers of today's rally for keeping this issue well and truly on the political landscape. It is imperative that we come to a successful conclusion of this matter.
"The fear of not being allowed re-enter the US, where many Irish people have made good lives for themselves, has meant that these people have been cut off from their families and their native country. This has caused much hardship for the undocumented Irish and for their families back home in Ireland and has meant visits, holidays, weddings and even funerals in Ireland are out of the question.
"We must remember that the undocumented Irish work very hard and make a powerful contribution to American social life the economy. It is now time for them to be granted citizenship.
"When Sinn Féin is here in DC during St. Patrick's week, we will consistently raise your case to Congress, Senate and all whom we meet. And we look forward to meeting with your families in Dublin on April 14th to offer what support we can back in Ireland."