Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hope for Reform

November 19, 2008

Editorial The Irish Voice

THE victories by President-elect Barack Obama in states such as Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Florida sent a strong signal about the extraordinary role that the Hispanic vote played in this election.

Put simply, without the 75% Hispanic vote support that he enjoyed Obama would have found it a lot harder to get to the White House.

At the same time the defeat of 10 of the 12 most anti-immigrant representatives in the House, as well the defeat of Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole, also notoriously anti-immigrant, in the Senate race in North Carolina sends its own signal.

What is says is that railing against the undocumented doesn’t sell well with the vast majority of Americans, and it downright damages the party that uses it continuously from its bag of dirty tricks.

The power of the Hispanic vote in this election is a powerful signal to the immigration lobby that real reform can be achieved in the life of the next Congress. After the bitter disappointment of the Bush years we are looking at a whole new beginning with Obama.

The president-elect has been a supporter of comprehensive reform and, no doubt, his extraordinary level of support in the Hispanic community will further nudge him in the direction of doing something decisive.

It is no certain thing, however, as we learned in the current administration with the failed effort to pass the Kennedy/McCain bill in this Congress.

Indeed, Hispanic leaders have already stated that they do not expect immediate action on the issue given the dangerous state of the economy and the two major separate wars that America is fighting.

However, immigration groups should be reluctant to allow too much time to pass before making their presence known. The reality is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease in Congress, and there is no time like the present to capitalize on the incredible support Obama got from Hispanic voters.

Of course the usual clowns such as Lou Dobbs and many legislators will begin their catch cries soon after any campaign is launched. But if this election showed anything it is that Americans are ready for tough, fair solutions to difficult problems and are desperately tired of the business as usual atmosphere in Congress.

The anti-immigrant sentiment whipped up by people such as Dobbs and others was evident in the tragic death of a young Ecuadorian immigrant in Patchogue, Long Island last week when a gang of high schoolers went on a “Mexican” hunting expedition and stabbed him to death.

It is hardly coincidental that the Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, a Democrat, has been among the most vituperative and hate-filled spokesmen against immigrants. His bile certainly bore evil fruit on this occasion.

All of which points to the need to settle on a sensible immigration policy that solves the issue once and for all.

No one is calling for open borders, and everyone wishes that laws can be enforced, but there is no doubt that some kind of program with a path to citizenship for the undocumented must be instituted. No less a person than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the same point in The New York Times Magazine last Sunday.

With Obama as president that day is certainly nearer, but it cannot come soon enough for the thousands of Irish and other undocumented who live in dread every day. Let us hope the new president sets a process in motion that can end this enduring nightmare for everyone.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lets get the ball rolling on this ASAP!!!!

I hope and pray that this is the last christmas(13th total) that myself and every other Irish person here has to spend away from their familys.

JUST TELL US WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Irish will have to look after number 1 and forget about every other group .We all know now nothing can be done for our illegals here now but we must get somthing more fot the new people coming over every day.The Irish goverment can not let these you people be turned in to second class sitisons like other genarations.We must lobby Brain cowen and he gang of cronies hard and now

Bronx paul...

kevin bacon said...

The whole problem with granting US Citizenship to the undocumented is that the undocumented have to give up their home country citizenship. What self-respecting Irishman/woman wants to do that?

What the undocumented Irish do want is to work for a time in the US, save a lot of money, and retire in Ireland. The whole idea of "return" is implicit in the aspirations of Irish peole.

kevin bacon said...

The whole problem with granting US Citizenship to the undocumented is that the undocumented have to give up their home country citizenship. What self-respecting Irishman/woman wants to do that?

What the undocumented Irish do want is to work for a time in the US, save a lot of money, and retire in Ireland. The whole idea of "return" is implicit in the aspirations of Irish peole.

Anonymous said...

Guys! Its strength in Unity! We can't just think we are Irish and we should get the papers alone or first! We have to get involved in the bigger coalition and pressure our newly elected officials to support us. We must also make our officials aware of the right wing nuts who will call using computerized automated calling systems to clog up the Congress's telephone systems, to make it appear as if the entire nation is calling them to stop Comprehensive Immigration Reform...

More over if you want to keep the Irish citizenship, Irish Govt should allow dual citizenship status for People of Irish Origin. US Govt allows dual citizen ship currently...

Yes We Can!

Anonymous said...

If it came down to a choice between giving up my Irish citizenship and becoming a legal American citizen then im willing to make that sacrafice.

No piece of paper the USA government issues can ever change the fact that i was born and raised in Belfast and i'll always be be proud of that, just like i will be proud to call myself a Irish American when that day arrives.

I'm willing to bet 99.9% of the other Irish people here would also make that sacarfice.

Anonymous said...

America is now my home.I have 2 children,a home and a business.My husband and I call here home.Returning to Ireland for holidays will be wonderful but being able to live here in our old age in peace is what we want.I am a self respecting Irish woman who is proud of my heritage but has chosen another land to call home.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Bacon - you don't know what you're talking about! Dual citizenship is available between Ireland and the US and its nothing to be ashamed of. And, to be blunt - return to what??? Have you seen the mess Ireland is in these days? And its only going to get worse and worse.
"The whole idea of "return" is implicit in the aspirations of Irish peole." Are you kidding me? Stop reading history books with those rose tinted glasses and get a grip on reality. Those of us who left Ireland (thanks to the Morrison visas) long before the Celtic Tiger arrived in Ireland know what Ireland is like in the bad years. We have built our lives here, our future is here and our children's future is here. That doesn't mean we love Ireland any less, we're just realists.
We all need to do whatever we can to make sure organizations like the ILIR succeed so no other Irish person ever has to be undocumented.

kevin bacon said...

Dual citizenship is available between Ireland and the US and its nothing to be ashamed of.

Not legally.

"The whole idea of "return" is implicit in the aspirations of Irish peole." Are you kidding me?

If my statement is false, then why is everyone other poster on this blog complaining about his inability to return to Ireland?

Anonymous said...

Everyone should lobby their own government, get them to help out. They are the best bet to get something done. Yes we can still do work here, but the real force has to be from our governments.
We have also to show America that we want to contribute to this country, I do not agree with demonstrations,for the simple reason what would we do if someone done this in our country. Call your Government.

Anonymous said...

We are getting some good news on the CIR front...

Sen. Majority Leader Comment Marks Monumental Shift in Immigration Reform Prospects...

"On immigration, there's been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. ... We'll do that."

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-sharry/sen-majority-leader-reid_b_146128.html

Anonymous said...

Ireland is one of the few countries that recognizes Dual citizenship. You will be able to have both an Irish passport & US passport if you ever get the opportunity to become a US citizen.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Bacon, your judment of Irish people is very missguided .Haveing no visa for the states after spendind 10 years there i moved back to Ireland 1 year ago.The only job I could find was in a factory 8.75 an hour . Was luckey to get the job, because i was told by the dole office once you have left europe for over 5 years I have no right to any type of wefare in Ireland ontill your back living here 18 months.The fcatory i work in is now on a 2 day week and will close after christmass. 130 euro is what i am ment to live on with my wife no help from the Irish goverment on less i last here another 8months .I would have no problem burn my passport and never come back here again if I could get a visa for America.What type of goverment would do this to its own people ONE THAT DOSENT CARE

Liam

Elaine Martin said...

Kevin Bacon is definitely incorrect in saying that dual citizenship is not available. I'm an immigration lawyer, and I have dual US-irish citizenship (I was born and raised in Ireland). The US government doesn't exactly encourage dual citizenship, but it doesn't forbid it. Some other countries don't allow it, although more and more countries do permit it.

kevin bacon said...

"Ireland is one of the few countries that recognizes Dual citizenship. You will be able to have both an Irish passport & US passport if you ever get the opportunity to become a US citizen."

When you become a US citizen, you must revoke all previous citizenships and allegiances. In that respect, the US does not recognize dal citizenship.

Elaine Martin said...

The US does recognize dual citizenship, and I quote from the State Dept. website: " A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth. U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another." More information here: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html

Anonymous said...

Elaine, thank you for explaining a fact. Kevin Bacon what can I say? Click on Elaines page, I think she def knows what she is talking about.

kevin bacon said...

Hello Elaine Martin. Did you take an "Oath of Allegiance" at your citizenship ceremony? Do you remember what you said?

Elaine Martin said...

I don't remember the oath exactly. It was something about foreswearing allegiance to "foreign princes or potentates"

kevin bacon said...

Fair enough, Anonymous and Elaine, but Elaine still hasn't addressed my question about the Oath she took. Please hold your judgement until then. That's all I ask.

Elaine Martin said...

We're going round in circles here. Whatever the Oath of Allegiance says, the reality is that people can have dual citizenship, and the US government recognizes this. I originally simply wanted to confirm that legal reality, not discuss semantics. I don't see much point in discussing it any further.

kevin bacon said...

Elaine;
I knew you wouldn't remember. Amazing....

kevin bacon said...

Ok Elaine, if you chose to capitulate then I rightfully claim victory in this debate.

You have relinquished your claim that I am "definitely incorrect" in my position. And I always though "semantics" was the expertise of an attorney.

See you around the blog-space