White House meets Irish lobby to discuss new visa bill for Ireland
Irish lobby calls on community to reach out to Republican senators for support
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) met at the White House last week with representatives from the president’s Domestic Policy Council, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security at to discuss support for the Irish E-3 visa bill which has been proposed in the Senate by New York Senator Charles Schumer.
Along with representatives from ILIR, present at the White House meeting were Felicia Escobar from the Domestic Policy Council, David Doherty from the State Department and Kelly Ryan from the Department of Homeland Security.
ILIR chairman Bart Murphy and president Ciaran Staunton were also present.
Former Congressman Bruce Morrison, author of the Morrison visa program in the 1990s and currently a lobbyist for ILIR, said three specific topics were discussed at the meeting.
Firstly, a statement of support for the Irish E3 visa bill from the White House is being sought given that the Obama administration has supported a recent bill that would allow other ethnic groups, most notably Chinese, Hispanic and Indians, to receive extra green cards.
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The E3 would allow up to ten thousand Irish a year to come here legally and work for two years on a non immigrant visa. The two year visa could be extended indefinitely.
Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of visa waivers should Schumer’s E-3 visa bill, or a version of it, become law. Schumer’s proposal would allow for the undocumented in the U.S. to apply for the visas, but they would need a waiver in order to be exempt from a three or 10-year bar from the U.S. which all undocumented face when they leave the country and attempt to re-enter.
Lastly, meeting participants discussed the rules which apply to deportation and called on all people, with or without a waiver, to be subject to the same right of review.
Morrison used the example of an Irish businessman in New York who was recently incarcerated and was going to be deported. Because he had overstayed his visa he was not entitled to go before a judge to have his case reviewed.
The man, who is yet to be deported, owns a business, has employees and a wife and children who are settled in the U.S.
“The policy is not in for those on a visa waiver,” Morrison said. “They should be entitled to some standard of review.”
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