Time is pressing
By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform said this week that its goals are the same as when it was founded in December 2005. It wants to find a path to legal status for the undocumented Irish in the U.S., and a path to legal status for future Irish immigrants.
But says Executive Director Kelly Fincham in an opinion piece in this week's Irish Echo, time is pressing. "The Economist recently warned that the weakening Irish property market could topple the country's economy because of Ireland's dependence on construction-related
revenue," she writes.
"Unemployment in the Republic is higher than it has been in a decade, while the first quarter's increase in unemployment was the worst since 1975. Thousands of construction jobs are also at risk in the North because of the downturn in building activity," she adds.
"Our community is in deep difficulty. A two-tier structure has emerged in Irish neighborhoods over legal status," she argues. "Organizations such as the GAA are unable to play games in Ireland because of visa issues, while Irish immigration centers across the U.S. are reporting a surge in new arrivals."
"From the very beginning, the ILIR aligned ourselves with the Kennedy/McCain bill, which sought to create a conditional path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants. Kennedy/McCain did not promote amnesty, and neither did we. We have never sought amnesty for the undocumented Irish. We sought legality," Fincham says.
And she adds: "We believe it's time to lift the ambition level. Let's work towards a solution which reverses what Senator Kennedy described as the one of the unforeseen consequences of the 1965 Immigration Act: the 'dramatic and significant' discrimination against Irish immigrants
to the U.S."