Sunday, July 08, 2007

We're not going away! We're staying to fight this battle!

The Irish in the US are a fixture. It has always been that way, and looks like it always will. For all the Irish people who have made the massive decision to leave Ireland over the centuries, to leave family and friends and a country they love, it has never been a decision they made lightly. And it is also not a decision that makes them any less Irish.

The number of people in the US that consider themselves Irish Americans is just astounding – 40 million people in the last US census proudly listed their Irish ancestry. These are the people who travel to Ireland to visit family and friends, to find their ancestors and understand where they came from. These are the people with amazing social and economic ties to Ireland.

To list all the Irish who have "made it" in the US, who have achieved the American Dream, as they say, and have made the difference, would take forever! But just scan the names of previous US Presidents, of current Senators and Representative, local politician's, business people - lots of proud Irish names on all those lists.

However, somewhere along the way, the number of US visas issued to the Irish has dwindled to an ridiculously low number. In 2005 in the Diversity visa program, out of the 48,151 issues to the entire world, Ireland received 76! Or if you look at the US visas issued to the entire world that same year, 1,122,373 visas in total, the Irish allocation was 2,088! That includes marriage, work and Diversity visas - the only 3 options open to the Irish these days.

For the current generation of young Irish people who find themselves caught in the twilight zone of being undocumented in their adopted home, the magnetism that got them here (and the millions before them) doesn't just disappear! We understand that we can, with hard work and determination, do anything in the US. That's why we're here.

We aren't going to hide and keep quiet. We've never done that! We are going to do what the Irish have always done, we are going to ignore the IRISH NEED NOT APPLY signs and
stay and fight this battle. We've always given the US our best shot and we're not going to give up now!


Anonymous said...

Attagirl! You're dead right. There's no point giving up the battle half way through. I'm staying too.

Anonymous said...

I am an American currently living in Ireland, I moved here to do a postgraduate course. I am of Irish descent, and have met a lovely Irish girl and am interested in remaining in Ireland. I am unable to get citizenship in Ireland through my great grandparents, one generation too late unfortunately. There is no means for an American to immigrate to Ireland, only through an employer. Many employers though say no non EU need apply. I think that there should be some mutual give and take among the US and Ireland to rectify the situation among those wanting to live and work in each others country. Being on the other side of this debate, I think it is actually easier for the Irish to legally move to the US. I know there are complaints about the number of visas and greencards available to the Irish, but they are actually overrepresented when their proportion of the worlds population is taken into account.

Thanks for everyones work and dedication to this issue and know that the Irish in the US have my full support, and I had sent letters to my Senators and Rep about this issue.

pesky mensch said...

I'm wondering if you can tell me how many Americans are living illegally in Ireland? There must be some, as I actually know a couple of Americans who have settled permanent in Ireland.
What interests me is the idea of doing a "wash". Legalize a number of Americans in Ireland; at the same time legalize a number if Irish in America.
Can you give some supporting evidence - antecdotal is ok.

Anonymous said...

Americans live illegally in other parts of the world as well - The difference is that their reason isn't survival or progress. They do it for 'change'. And so be it, no one holds it against them. But the vitriol that keeps spewing against undocumented immigrants does no justice to their drive and dedication. The fact that some even risk death and are able to move ahead with no guarantee of reward or success speaks volumes about their character. There are about a million American 'retirees' in Mexico, 999,000 of which I can guarantee you are not legal immigrants. And thousands more become lawbreakers everyday when they cross the border by the busloads into Canada or Mexico to buy discounted drugs. But that's okay because they are senior citizens 'in need'.

Anonymous said...

A note to all undocumented immigrants who graduated high school in the U.S. and have even attended college: Sentor Durbin of Illinois is attaching the DREAM Act to a Defense bill that's scheduled to be voted on next week in the Senate. BE VERY ALERT AS THIS MIGHT BENEFIT THOUSANDS, NO MATTER WHAT NATIONALITY! Thousands of you may qualify. Funnily enough, this has broad support from Republicans and is expected to PASS. The National Immigration Law Center is exolting all immigration reform organizations to move ahead and pressure for passage of this next week. If only were possible to reinstitute 245(i) at the same time, thousands more who have a legal permanent resident relative would be granted their chance at permanent residency without leaving the country. Good luck and stay alert.

pesky mensch said...

The reason the Irish live illegally in the US is not survival or progress either. The Irish do it for "change" as well.

What is illegal about buying drugs in Canada and Mexico? Please clarify.

Robert F. said...

How many Irish are in the United States illegally now ?