Irish hopes high as U.S. Senate commences immigration reform debate
Call for Irish Americans to lobby their politicians as debate begins
The Senate begins its drive this week to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would offer legal status to millions of undocumented residents, and Irish activists working on the issue are confident that the bill’s E-3 visa provision which sets aside 10,500 renewable visas each year exclusively for Irish use will survive the debate intact.
On Tuesday afternoon the Senate voted by a wide margin, 82-15, to begin debate on S. 744, the bill authored by the so-called Gang of Eight bipartisan senators earlier this year. The bill emerged from the Judiciary Committee last month, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is hopeful that the full Senate will pass the measure before the July 4 recess.
However, the floor debate will be vigorous and a number of Senate members have already announced their intentions to offer amendments that would toughen border security and eliminate the eventual path to citizenship on offer for upwards of 11 million undocumented residents.
“I'll vote to debate it and for the opportunity to amend it, but in the days ahead there will need to be major changes to this bill if it's going to become law," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday before voting to open debate.
Members of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform have spent the past few days in Washington, D.C. meeting with legislators and drumming up support for S. 744 and its key Irish provision that was included at the specific request of Gang of Eight member Senator Charles Schumer of New York.
Senator Mark Daly from Ireland has also been lobbying on Capitol Hill, and joined ILIR President Ciaran Staunton for a number of key meetings with both House and Senate members.
“We met with a number of Republican staffers, including those working with Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois,” Staunton told the Irish Voice.
“And here’s what we know – now is the time for Irish Americans across the country, but particularly in those states, to call their Senate offices and urge passage of the bill.”
Staunton and Daly met with Schumer on Tuesday afternoon after the Senate vote, and the New York senator was pleased that floor debate will finally begin. “He told us he was feeling good about the situation and very hopeful,” Staunton said.
While the immigration focus will remain in the Senate for the next few weeks, the more conservative House is also working on its own bill that will eventually have to be reconciled with anything that comes out of the Senate.
Staunton and Daly met with staff members representing more than 40 GOP House members in the past few days, including a sit-down with Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate last year who is expected to seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
- Notre Dame sues federal government again...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for...
- Caroline Kennedy “selfie” in Japan reveals...
- Smithwick inquiry finds Irish police may...
- Married priests could well be Pope Francis'...
- Ireland wins top spot on Forbes’ Best Countries
- Why Ireland needs to give its emigrants a...
- Pope Francis calls capitalism “new tyranny”...
- Sarah Jessica Parker opens her heart to grievin
if they DON'T want birth control....then MAKE THE CATHOLICS pay the medical bills for the mother and ADOPT those babies, that women are FORCED to carrNotre Dame sues federal government again over birth control
If Notre Dame wants federal dollars it should abide by federal law. This is a democracy not a theocracy. If they want to prevent young woman from acceNotre Dame sues federal government again over birth control
Darao: How shallow can a human being become as to be indifferent to the destruction of family stability, the encouragement of male irresponsibility, aUnionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for new flag for Northern Ireland (VIDEO)
Wipe you ass with the union jack Haas is an idiot as well