Talking Sense On Licenses
NEW York Eliot Spitzer has landed himself in extra hot water over the driver's license issue, but it is still important that Irish undocumented understand what has occurred.
By December of 2008 all undocumented will be able to obtain a license. That will allow them to get auto insurance, and they will be able to use the document as an ID everywhere except at an airport or a federal building.
Most already use their passport at the airport anyway, and very few would ever enter a federal building - think immigration headquarters - to conduct any business.
The word is going around that the driver's license will single you out as an illegal. Maybe, but so what? Not having a driver's license if you were pulled over would do the same, and land you in much deeper trouble.
After all, what percentage of Irish would get pulled over in the first place? A tiny one for sure. And what percentage of New York traffic cops would care what your status was as long as they wrote the ticket? Probably zero.
In other words, getting one of the new licenses next year is a much better step than not having one at all.
While it is undeniably disappointing that Spitzer has had to alter his original plan, the reality is that he now has a definite framework to make the driver's license issue work
New President of ILIR
JEFF Cleary, who has taken over as president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration reform is a well-known figure in the Irish community as well as one of the leading Irish American Republicans statewide.
Cleary is on the board of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and played a leading role in securing the Irish Famine Memorial for Battery Park when George Pataki was governor of New York.
Cleary replaces attorney Grant Lally, who did a superb job for two years tending to the Republican side of the lobbying movement.
Cleary held a high position under Pataki and was his unofficial sounding board on all things Irish.
His move to ILIR comes at a time when the lobbying group has understandably taken a low profile since the immigration bill was defeated. That is not to say that nothing is happening, however.
Cleary has been quick into stride, meeting with White House counselor Ed Gillespie as well as new Irish Ambassador Michael Collins in recent weeks. He will no doubt do a top class job for ILIR.
Tancredo to Step Down
CONGRESSMAN Tom Tancredo, the scourge of the immigration reform advocates is quitting his seat according to reports.
Tancredo, as close to a nativist as makes no difference, is stepping down from his safe Colorado seat to pursue his presidential ambitions.
Given the fact that he is polling about 1% in the Republican primary, that doesn't seem like a very smart thing to bet his future on.
However, Tancredo is said to be eying a Senate run against Ken Salazar, the Democratic incumbent, in 2010. Given that Salazar is Hispanic and a passionate advocate of immigration reform, it could lead to quite a battle.
Tancredo would be a huge long shot in such a race, but given the mood on illegal immigration out there at present it might be foolish to rule him out entirely.