Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has said today that he is optimistic on US immigration reform. Crowe, who has been active on the issue since becoming an elected representative, was speaking after he attended a briefing from Ciarán Staunton, President of The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).
The briefing for Oireachtas members focused on the status of the Immigration Reform Bill in the US as well as a variety of Irish Diaspora issues.
Mr Staunton will hold a separate briefing with Sinn Féin’s Oireachtas members later today.
Deputy Crowe said:
“I want to thank Ciarán for travelling to Ireland and hosting what was a very informative and constructive briefing on Immigration Reform and other issues affecting the Irish Diaspora.
“It is vitally important that the Government, Oireachtas members, and Irish-Americans continue to lobby US Congress men and women on the need for immigration reform.
“Immigration reform will provide a pathway to citizenship for those that are living undocumented in the USA, which includes about 50,000 Irish. Therefore this bill would be life altering for this hardworking but vulnerable group, and needs all the support it can get.
“I have been to Capitol Hill in Washington DC to lobby on this issue and it is still hard to predict whether the bill will pass or not, but I am optimistic that common sense will prevail.
“I recognise the huge barriers placed in front of the campaign but I believe that legislation in Congress can happen on what is a very divisive issue, particularly for Republicans.
“At this crucial time it is vitally important that the US and Irish governments improve their coordination on immigration.
“I strongly support the E-3 visa campaign, which would see the granting of 10,500 visas annually, for Irish citizens who want to go to live and work in the US. This would secure a ‘future flow’ and direct contact between Ireland and the USA.
“The visas are non-immigrant, so US citizenship is not involved, but it would allow the recipient and his or her spouse to work in the USA, and to renew the visa every two years in perpetuity.
“Irish-America has done so much for Ireland over the years and it is important that Ireland supports the most vulnerable members of this community at this historic time.
“The undocumented Irish immigrants are not looking to go ahead of the line and receive special treatment, but are looking for a place in that line that will secure their legal status in the US.”