Friday, June 29, 2007

Labour Party Leader Speaks Out in Ireland

Irish Labour Party President and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
Friday, 29 June 2007


Labour Party President and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Michael D Higgins TD, has expressed sincere disappointment at last night's US Senate vote that saw the proposal to debate a new Immigration Reform Bill defeated by seven votes.

Deputy Higgins commented, "Last night's decision not even to debate the reform proposals comes as a real setback for all those who have campaigned to legalise the status of the many thousands of undocumented Irish living, working and raising families in the United States.

"These people make a significant contribution to the US economy, yet enjoy no security of status or the ability to return home to visit their wider families.

"I am therefore calling on the Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, in particular, to continue to press their American counterparts for a new deal for the undocumented Irish.

"The Labour Party has long supported the main elements of the original Kennedy/McCain initiative and we continue to support all efforts being made to regularise the status of the estimated 30,000 Irish people in the United States who find themselves in this position.

"The political pressure must be maintained and I will continue to raise this issue with US authorities and representatives at every opportunity."

Time to return the Statue of Liberty

I'm writing this as I watch a woman I know bring her children to the local park. She is undocumented, her husband is undocumented but the children are US citizens. I don't know who Senators DeMint and Sessions were speaking for yesterday. They weren't speaking for these two small US citizens whose lives continue to be in jeopardy.

Amazing really, that this country, which attracts so many people from around the world is turning its back on immigrants. We should think about giving the Statue of Liberty back. We don't deserve it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Message for the future from Niall O'Dowd

I know the news today has been personally devastating for all the undocumented Irish who have fought the good fight to become legal in the United States.

It was always going to be a very difficult road to immigration reform but we need to understand that there is more than one way to approach this issue.

Comprehensive immigration reform is dead until after the November 2008 election. We need to follow another path in order to achieve our aims. We were unable to do that while comprehensive reform, involving 12 million undocumented, was under consideration.

We have been heartened by the immediate and strong response of the Irish government and Foreign Affairs Minster Dermot Ahern to the new situation. He has pledged the full support and backing for ILIR and has made clear that legalizing the Irish in America is a top priority for the new Irish government. Read On

Statement from Dermot Ahern re Senate Bill

Expressing his deep disappointment at today's developments in the US Senate on the issue of immigration reform, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., said:

"I greatly regret that the courageous efforts of many members of the US Senate to achieve support for a wide ranging, cross-party bill on immigration reform, has not been successful in attracting the necessary level of support to ensure its progress.

"I appreciate the determined efforts of those Republican and Democratic Senators and of President Bush to achieve a bipartisan agreement on this important matter. I would echo the sentiments of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham today in the Senate when he said "you cannot wish away 12 million people" and those of a great friend of Ireland, Senator Ted Kennedy, who in his address in the Senate said "that the Senate resume its belief in the American dream….will we vote on our fears or for the future?

"I have asked our Ambassador in Washington to provide a full assessment of the situation we now face so that we can review how our efforts can best be brought forward for the benefit of our undocumented in the US.

"In addition, we will maintain our engagement with key Members of the US Congress and I have already been in contact with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform which provides an effective voice for the Irish undocumented throughout the US.

"The Government is fully committed to responding to the concerns of the undocumented Irish and will continue to take every opportunity to convey to US political leaders the urgent need to address this major issue, which impacts directly on many families in Ireland. The Government will continue to support our citizens in the United States who find themselves in this difficult situation

"This set-back will not diminish our determination to secure the fair deal for the undocumented Irish and their families."


Today's news is disappointing but it is not the end. For some time we have been pursuing other means of legalizing our community and we will be actively pursuing those aims in the weeks and months ahead.

We believe it is still possible that we can legalize our community, and we ask our thousands of volunteers to keep faith with the effort despite this setback.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wall Street Journal Warns GOP over Anti-Immigrant Action

The ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal today warned the Republican party that it risked political suicide by killing the immigration bill. PLEASE KEEP SENDING THE FAXES AND MAKING THOSE CALLS

Read The Full Story Here
The danger is that the GOP is sending a message to Latinos that it doesn't want them in the party. And if that message sticks, Republicans could put themselves back in minority party status for a generation or more...

ILIR quoted in national news round-up

Visit this link to read the story.

And don't forget to keep sending those faxes!! Visit this link for the fax/phone page

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Senate Passes Vote To Allow Debate On Immig Bill

The Senate has passed a vote 64 - 35 allowing debate on the immigration reform bill. This is the first of three votes we need the Senate to pass. The second - which would limit the debate to a timely manner - is expected to take place tomorrow. Please keep sending those faxes. This is the week to put all our effort into lobbying our Senators.



The ILIR would like to thank everyone in San Francisco, Florida, Boston and New York who took part in the National Action Day. You sent 6,000 faxes to the Senate offices of Senators Boxer, Schumer, Reid and McConnell. Congratulations!

However, we cannot take any of the Senate votes coming up for granted – there are a lot of reports about waivering or faltering resolve. We cannot allow the Senate to close the door on comprehensive immigration reform.

LET'S KEEP THOSE FAXES AND CALLS GOING! We need to increase calls to Senate offices next week. At this point, given how close together votes may be, we should ask people to call EVERYDAY to urge their Senators to move forward.

lET'S KEEP THE FOCUS ON OUR TOP FOUR: Senators Boxer, Schumer, Reid and McConnell. Please call them and ask them to support this process. Let them know the Irish SUPPORT this process. Please don't let the bill die in the Senate. It will kill our communities.

Click here for scripts, phone numbers and faxes

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No Green Card? Pick up the phone/fax on Monday

This post is aimed at every single Irish person out there who needs a green card - pick up the phone on Monday 25 and make FOUR calls or faxes to Senators Boxer, Schumer, Reid and McConnell. Or print the faxes from the ILIR website and send them in. It's that simple.

The Senate will vote on Tuesday on whether or not to move the bill to the next process. This vote is called cloture, and if this vote fails, we fail. That's it folks. The Bill will live or die in this vote.

Why do you need to call? These four Senators are powerful enough to drive this bill out of the Senate and into the House. BUT, they are not hearing from supporters of the bill like us. The people they're hearing from are the idiots on the right, who say it's amnesty, and the idiots on the left who say it's not good enough. IT IS GOOD ENOUGH!

The folks at ILIR have put together pre-written faxes and phone scripts for you to use. Please click here to get the phone numbers, scripts and faxes. And please ask everyone you know to sign faxes and send them in.

McCain Optimistic on Immigration Vote

In LI, McCain pushes immigration bill, troop surge


Newsday, June 23, 2007

Presidential hopeful John McCain appeared in Upper Brookville Friday for a fundraiser in which he said he was "guardedly optimistic" about the success of immigration reform legislation that will return to the Senate for consideration on Tuesday.

The Arizona Republican, a co-signer of the immigration bill, which secures the Mexican borders and puts 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, spoke at an event hosted by real estate magnate Mark Broxmeyer.

The fundraiser drew approximately 220 people to Broxmeyer's residence and brought in more than $340,000 for the candidate, campaign officials said.

He will make a second fundraising stop on Long Island, in Southampton, later this week.

At the Upper Brookville event, McCain said he hopes to have the immigration reform legislation wrapped up by the end of the week, before Congress breaks for the Fourth of July recess.

"There will be some tough votes," the senator said. "I think we have the votes; I'm guardedly optimistic."

The bill will need 60 votes on Tuesday in a test vote that would limit debate on the legislation.

Two weeks ago, the test vote only received 45 yeas -- and just seven from Republicans, meaning that debate was open-ended and the bill could be bogged down.

The candidate warned that if the stalled legislation isn't pushed through before the break, it "maybe a long time before we take it up again."

"If we do nothing, we have broken borders, we have 12 million people with de facto amnesty," said McCain, who has drawn sharp disapproval from the conservative base for his position on the issue.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Boston Herald reports on "The Lack of the Irish"

The Boston Herald reports that Irish sporting traditions that predate baseball in much of America are seriously threatened by America's dysfunctional system of immigration and the resulting "Lack of the Irish."

Twenty-five years before ground was broken on Fenway Park, in 1886, the first Gaelic football match was played on Boston Common. Since its founding in 1884, the Boston Northeast Gaelic Athletic Association has done more than organize these matches. It has nourished and spread Irish culture and political viewpoints and provided a critical economic and social safety net to new Irish immigrants.

Irish Independent: "Reform bill gives new hope to Irish illegals in US"
Reform bill gives new hope to Irish illegals in US
By Patricia McDonagh
Saturday June 16 2007

Following a deal reached by Democrat and Republican leaders, the immigration reform bill will be considered for another term, despite fears it would be shelved last week. If passed on July 4, the bill would create a new Z-Visa, allowing those currently living in the US illegally to work upon payment of a fine and to eventually apply for a green card.

It would also create a guest-worker programme, allowing Irish people to spend a short time in the country.

Although greeted by the Irish immigration lobby, the pressure group admitted reservations regarding some of the "punitive measures" in the bill

"We are very pleased," said president of the group Niall O'Dowd. "It's a huge turnaround from a week ago when the process looked completely dead in the water.

"However, we have a lot of reservations, particularly about the future flow of immigrants. We still don't know if they will be entitled to immigrate legally, as the language is undecided." Despite this, O'Dowd says the lobby is prepared to put any reservations behind it if the most important principle, the legalisation of the undocumented Irish, is gained.

"It's not the perfect bill, but it does have the most important principle - giving Irish people who are already here legal status. At the moment, people can't go home and they can't drive.

"The clampdown on illegal status is becoming tighter every day and it is becoming harder for Irish people living here." Coupled with the bill are plans for a $4.4bn (€3.2bn) border security plan which would enable officials to keep tabs on the number of people entering the country.

According to Mr O'Dowd, this is a "carrot" to get hard-nosed Republicans to vote for the controversial immigration reform bill.

"I think that President Bush felt that they had to be given some incentive to vote for such a controversial bill," he said.


Wall Street Journal Focuses on Children

CHILDREN PAY HEAVY PRICE IN IMMIGRATION RAIDS: On the morning of Dec. 12, a schools superintendent in Nebraska issued an "urgent" email about a major immigration raid at a local meatpacking plant that would have "significant impact on many students." Children might go home to find one or both parents gone, or might not be picked up from school at all, it noted. Read More

June 18 News Clips from CCIR

Immigration reform gets another chance

Corpus Christi Caller Times, TX

Activists push for immigration reform
Rockford Register Star, IL

Get back to work
Charlotte Observer, NC

Giving a face to immigration debate
Chicago Daily Herald, IL

Immigrants embark on tour to foster understanding
Boston Globe, United States

Immigrant advocates off to DC
St. Petersburg Times, FL

Believing in the American Dream -- for all
Roanoke Times, VA

Our view on immigration: Long waits, onerous rules invite ...
USA Today

Immigration ripping the GOP at its seams
Journal Review, IN

Friday, June 15, 2007

CCIR Immigration News Clips: June 15

Immigration Bill Has New Life in Senate

Washington Post, United States

Good Fences
Washington Post, United States (Krauthammer)

The GOP's Identity Crisis
Washington Post, United States (Dionne)

The DJ Who Decided It's Drive Time
Washington Post, United States

Senators Agree to Revive Immigration Bill
New York Times, United States

Senate strikes deal to revive immigration bill
Los Angeles Times, CA

Not Dead Yet
The American Prospect, MA

Senators Plan to Revive Immigration Bill
Chicago Tribune, United States

New Haven's Immigration Drama Grows
Hartford Courant, United States

Immigration reform gets second chance
Houston Chronicle, United States

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The game is afoot (again!)

What great news to come out of DC this evening and its the news we've all been waiting for - the immigration bill is on its way back to the Senate floor. After the roller coaster ride we were on last week - the cloture vote and the inaccurate media coverage about it, the harsh rhetoric from the small group of hurlers-on-the-ditch and all the rest, this announcement is the gem we've held our collective breath for!

Last week, it was difficult to watch the likes of Senator Sessions stand in the Senate, spewing his particular brand of bigotry and bile and monopolizing the debate. It could have knocked the wind out of our sails for a second. And then, you stop yourself. You remember the vast majority of citizens desire a path to legalization for the undocumented in the country. Opinion poll after opinion poll reflect this fact. It's obvious to anyone who is willing to open their eyes, that the only intelligent, humane and justifiable solution to the immigration debate in this country of immigrants, is comprehensive immigration reform. Burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away is not acceptable to anyone, on any level.

Tonight, the Senate has shown that their eyes are wide open and they are focused on the goal... as we are!!

Read more here.

Immigration Bill Revived in Senate

Details of the immigration compromise remain to be finalized, but top Democratic sources say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will approve the compromise and move late Thursday to put the bill back on the calendar for Senate consideration in the middle of next week.

"He's going to bless it and he's going to get the Senate back in the business of dealing with immigration," said a source in the Democratic Senate leadership. Read More

Wednesday, June 13, 2007



A huge majority of Americans - including nearly two-thirds of Republicans - favor allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens if they pay fines, learn English and meet other requirements, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. That is a striking show of support for the bill that has stalled in the Senate amid conservative opposition. READ MORE

CCIR Immigration News Clips: June 13

June 13, 2007

Senators Unmoved by Bush Bid to Save Immigration Bill
Washington Post, United States

An Unappetizing Bill of Fare
Washington Post, United States (Dana Millbank)

Harry Reid's Sham
Washington Post, United States (George F. Will)

The Immigration Debate (Letter from Senator Webb)
Washington Post, United States

Bush Pleads for GOP Immigration Support
Washington Post, United States

Database Becomes Tool in Deportations
Washington Post, United States

Immigration's lost voices
Los Angeles Times, CA

As We See It: Last-ditch plea in immigration compromise
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA

Revisit immigration reform
Toledo Blade, OH

So close to immigration reform, so fanatically far
Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL

More than 165 workers detained after agents raid Portland food plant
Seattle Times, United States

Bush lobbies Senate to revive stalled immigration proposal
Denver Post, CO

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

McConnell Upbeat After Bush Meeting on Capitol Hill

President George Bush made a rare visit to Capitol Hill today to push for immigration reform.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said there was "good give and take" at the meeting, and sounded optimistic about the bill's chances..."We didn't expect anybody to stand up and holler that they had a epiphany," McConnell said. "I do believe this bill is about 85 percent through, to the finish line."

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) threw caution to the winds and told the President to back off over immigration. Read More

News Clips from CCIR June 12, 2007

More positive news in today's selection of news clips provided by CCIR. Also, check out today's Letters Page in The New York Times, seven of the eight letters on immigration support comprehensive immigration reform. Given that The New York Times is the voice of the establishment, this can only be good news!!

June 12, 2007

Bush Tries to Save Immigration Reform

Yearning to Learn Free
Wall Street Journal

Bush, Senators to Meet on Immigration
Washington Post, United States

The System at Work
Washington Post, United States

’86 Law Looms Over Immigration Fight
New York Times, United States

Editorial | Immigration Reform
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA

Immigration seen as paramount problem for US farms

Gutierrez a force behind immigration reform
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Republicans say no to Hispanic gathering
Miami Herald, FL

McCain wants to renew immigration fight
Sacramento Bee, USA

Don't give up
Orlando Sentinel, FL

Don't let immigration bill be job America won't do
Chicago Sun-Times, United States

Bay Area residents share stories of dreams, hope to deliver jolt ...
San Jose Mercury News, USA

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good News On Stalled Immigration Bill

Good news all round this morning as The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Washington Post revisit the immigration debate and find there's plenty of life left in it.

The Times said Democratic Senators were working to bring the bill back and said that Senator John Kyl was running out of patience with some of his colleagues and was "prepared to override their objections if there was not progress soon on an agreement."

Fox, CNN and the Post all reported President Bush's pledge to revive the immigration bill.

"I believe we can get an immigration bill," Bush said. "Now, it's going to require leadership from the Democrat leaders in the Senate, and it's going to require me to stay engaged and work with Republicans who want a bill." President Bush

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bush: 'I'm not giving up on immigration bill'

President Bush is not giving up on his plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants and is aiming to convince GOP senators to bring the bill back. Today, Sunday,Tony Snow, White House spokesman, and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez both predicted an immigration bill would pass once Bush meets with lawmakers this week and Congress reconsidered the measure.Full Story

Queens; We're Not Giving Up!

WE'RE NOT GIVING UP! More than 200 people crammed into the Courtyard Bar in Sunnyside in Queens on Saturday night (June 9) to help raise money for the ILIR's continued lobbying efforts in Washington.

The packed crowd cheered ILIR Vice Chairman Ciaran Staunton as he told them to hang on in there. "This Bill is Not Dead", he said. "We're going to Washington this week and thanks to your fundraising efforts tonight, we'll keep going to Washington until we Legalize The Irish!"

The night raised more than $12,000 for the ILIR and several of the organizers and supporters from the Bronx, Yonkers and Connecticut also made the trip to show their support for the ILIR's efforts.

One supporter, reflecting the general sentiment, said: "This is the time to stand up and fight. This bill's not going away and neither are we!"

Friday, June 08, 2007


Please Call Senator Harry Reid,

Say Thanks For His Hard Work And Ask Him To Bring The Bill Back On The Floor

Call 202 224 3542 And Press #1 For A Staffer Or Press #2 To Leave A Message For Senator Reid

Please Forward To Anyone You Know Who Cares About Immigration Reform

Battle Continues as Immigration Bill Stalls

The Immigration Reform bill has been stalled in the Senate by a procedural vote. This news is clearly a setback but it does not mean that the process itself is dead.

According to Fox News

Despite the fact that it was primarily Republicans who voted against the maneuver, all the GOP lawmakers who spoke with FOX News were upbeat that the legislation could be revived soon — even within a matter of weeks, with one negotiator noting that last year's bill was first pulled from the floor by then-Majority Leader Bill Frist before it was brought back up again and passed.
We always knew this was going to be a tough battle but it's not over yet, far from it.

Dan Balz of the Washington Post called it a "failure of leadership". Click here


We're Going To Get It Done: ILIR Chairman Niall O'Dowd
's Morning Ireland Click Here
RTE News At One Click Here
We are disappointed that the bill is no longer on the floor but we are encouraged that both Majority Senate Leader Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have strongly indicated that they intend to bring the bill back and to sort out the remaining issues between them.

We have always known that this would be a very difficult battle but we strongly believe that, as Senator Edward Kennedy stated, there is no alternative but to have a bill passed through the Senate and House this year and to be passed into law by the end of the year.

This is a setback but we do not believe that it means the end of the immigration bill for this year.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Steady as she goes

After another day of wall to wall debate on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Senate today displayed great poise and understanding of what this bill must achieve.
For example, rather than approve an amendment proposed this afternoon by Sen. Cornyn, which would have made it next to impossible for the vast majority of undocumented immigrants to change their status, the Senate choose to adopt the alternative amendment, which would increase penalties for those convicted of sex offenses, domestic violence or use of firearms during human smuggling. Read the entire New York Times article here.

May all the Senators continue this debate with the same intelligence and determination that was displayed today.

Queens Night Out for ILIR Saturday June 7

The Queens Chapter of the ILIR will host a fundraiser in The Courtyard on Queens Blvd on Saturday night at 9pm.

Top local bands Krash and Atomic are among the musicians donating their time to what promises to be a great night out.

All funds will go to help the ILIR continue lobbying in Washington. See you there!

Email for more details

Senator Reid Files Cloture on Senate Bill

Cloture Vote Filed

Senator Reid filed cloture on the bill, with a vote scheduled for Thursday evening. This means that a vote to end debate on the immigration bill and amendments to it will take place on Thursday. Sixty votes will be needed. Republicans have objected, saying that there are many more amendments to be offered on their side and that they do not want to have debate cut off.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Late Updates (June 5)

1) Change In Debate Today: Because of the death of Sen. Thomas (R-WY), the immigration debate has been pushed back until 2:15 this afternoon.

2) Change In Timeline: It had been anticipated that debate would wrap up this week. We've now heard that a cloture vote is likely Thursday, but the amendment process is likely to continue through TUE 6/12, with final passage on that day.

3) Add Your Comment! Add your voice and help the voice of the majority of Americans break through! The Washington Post has put up a "chat" on the immigration bill - WEIGH IN! Click Here

June 5 News Clips from CCIR

June 5,2007

Leadership by Evasion
Washington Post, DC

Joined at the Claw
Washington Post, DC

A Point System for Immigrants Incites Passions
New York Times, NY

New Haven Approves Program to Issue Illegal Immigrants IDs
New York Times, NY

Romney backs off stand of registering migrants
San Francisco Chronicle, CA

Remember mistakes from the past when considering immigration reform
Statesman Journal, OR

Two-day DM vigil urges immigration law changes, IA

McCain cites local Marine in immig bill debate
New York Daily News, NY

More than just Latinos wait for immigration law
The News Journal, DE

And they're back!

After their week off, the Senate are back to the debate at full tilt and immigration is back to being the hottest topic in the media.

In the Boston Globe yesterday, there was an interesting article about how the nay-sayers voices grew weaker as the Memorial Day recess progressed and how, in fact, public opinion in favor of comprehensive reform grew louder. There was even another opinion poll published, showing wide public support of immigration reform, this time by the Washington Post/ABC News. Read the entire article

This is going to be quite the rollercoaster of a week as we watch the level headed bipartisan coalition continue their great work! (and perhaps we can call and thank them a few more times too!)

Monday, June 04, 2007

McCain keeps the pressure on

Senator John McCain is scheduled to make an important speech in Florida today and is expected to have a very strong message for his fellow Republicans on the topic of immigration reform.
His choice of venue and date for this speech also speaks to his commitment to this bill - the Senate resumes their debate today on immigration after their Memorial Day recess and Florida is home to a huge immigrant population and his fellow Republican and immigration reform supporter, Sen. Mel Martinez.
Read the AP's full report here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bush Steps Up, Again!

Today, President Bush, once again, showed his whole hearted support for the bill making its way through the Senate. The President seems to understand that the nation as a whole is looking for positive action by their elected officials on immigration reform and that inaction is not acceptable. Read the full report from the AP here.

And at a press conference today, President Bush's chosen immigration emissaries, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, were both optimistic that the bill will win congressional approval. Read the full article from The Hill here.

I'm sure all the ILIR volunteers phone calls are helping this tide of change! Keep up the good work - even over the weekend! Answering machines are standing by...