Sr. Lena Deevy will be honored at this year's Solas AwardsThe Irish International Immigrant Center

Sister Lena Deevy, Richard E. Holbrook and Susan J. Cohen to receive Irish International Immigrant Center’s Solas Award

The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) will hold its annual Solas Awards Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. At the celebration, the IIIC will mark the 25th anniversary of its founding and will present the Solas Awards to three distinguished members of the Boston community. Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will serve as the evening’s emcee. Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Governor Deval Patrick, and First Lady Diane Patrick are the Honorary Co-Chairs.

Named for the Gaelic word for light, the Solas Awards are presented annually to inspirational leaders who are committed to giving back to their communities. Past recipients of the award include the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and Rev. Liz Walker. This year’s honorees are:

Sister Lena Deevy, LSA – Sister Lena Deevy has been a long-term champion of immigrants, especially during her 24 years of leadership at the IIIC. Her efforts to promote solidarity, peace, and justice are global in scale, benefiting people in Ireland, Haiti, Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Richard E. Holbrook – In his role at Eastern Bank, Holbrook has overseen a company that is a leader in corporate social responsibility. With a strong commitment to giving back, Eastern Bank has been a tremendous supporter of IIIC’s work for a decade and shares IIIC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Susan J. Cohen, Esquire - Cohen has been a tireless supporter of refugees, asylees, and low-income immigrants for years. She has been a prominent advocate while also providing pro-bono legal representation for these vulnerable individuals and families. Cohen is founder and Chair of the Immigration Practice of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. The Mintz Levin law firm has been a longstanding donor and supporter of the IIIC’s work.

Proceeds from the 2014 Solas Awards Celebration benefit IIIC’s legal, wellness, and education programs for low-income immigrants from Ireland and around the world; and its efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland. For further details or to reserve seats, please contact Mary Kerr at 617-695-1554 or Tickets are also available on the IIIC website at

J1 One Year Visa Intern Lands Arbella Placement

J-1 Irish Work and Travel Visa holder, Mark Fitzgerald, from Ennis, County Clare recently accepted a one year internship with Arbella Insurance in Boston.

Mark was previously a summer intern at the Irish International Immigrant Center two years ago and recently returned on the J-1 Work & Travel program.

The staff of the IIIC offers its best wishes to Mark as he begins his new placement.

Why Do People Walk to Prevent Suicide?

We have had a tremendous initial response to our second annual "IIIC- Together for Hope" Suicide Prevention & Awareness Walk on October 4, 2014 at Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester. Why are people walking? "WE WALK TO HONOR OUR LOVED ONES - WE WALK TO SAVE LIVES!" - but what does this mean?

  • We walk to show solidarity with those who are suffering in silence and feel alone in our community; we want them to know, by walking, we are saying out loud and in public that that we care, we understand and to assure them they ARE NOT alone.
  • We walk because we know that those who live with treatable illnesses like depression, anxiety, addictions or other behavioral health conditions, can sometimes feel so lost they believe suicide will stop their pain. We want them to know that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and that help and recovery IS possible.
  • We walk to honor those we have loved and lost; friends, family, partners, siblings, children, neighbors and colleagues. We love them and think about them every day and want to prevent these losses from happening again.
  • We walk to make sure there are funds generated to provide effective, direct care services in our community to help those who are in pain NOW. So, we ask our friends, colleagues and family to donate what they can to sponsor us to walk, ensuring these funds support the IIIC Wellness Suicide Prevention Services.

To register for the walk is easy: Call 617-542-7654, Danielle (ext. 14) or Iarla (ext. 32) to register today or email us on or You can also check out our Facebook page:



Q: I have a green card and am very interested in the issues and candidates in the primary and general federal and state elections coming up this fall. Does my immigration status allow me to take part in any way, such as volunteering with a candidate’s campaign staff?

A: First, it is crucial to remember that no one who is not a US citizen may legally vote (or run for office) in US elections. Registering and attempting to do so would be viewed by US immigration authorities as a false claim to US citizenship, which can have dire consequences.

Federal election laws prohibit all financial contributions and expenditures in connection with elections by “foreign nationals,” which includes individuals, governments, corporations, and other organizations.

There is, however, an exception to this blanket prohibition for legal permanent residents, that is, green card holders. They are not considered to be “foreign nationals” for election law purposes in terms of support for candidates. This means that they are in the same position as US citizens in this regard; they are allowed to make contributions and are subject to the same dollar limits, reporting requirements, etc. Also, they are free to work in support of candidates.

Non-US citizen individuals who do not have green cards are allowed to engage in volunteer political activity by providing personal services in connection with elections. The key limitations are that such activity may not entail financial expenditures by or compensation to the volunteer, and the activity must not relate to fund raising. For example, a volunteer could go door to door urging people to vote for a particular candidate, but could not provide services such as writing or distributing a brochure to solicit campaign contributions.

The foregoing is a very brief and basic summary of the application of election laws to non-US citizens. Situations can arise where the correct answer is not necessarily clear cut. For further guidance, go to the web site of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) at and click “quick answers.” Also, the FEC issues advisory opinions in individual cases.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Immigration law is always subject to change. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Department of State regularly amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of IIIC immigration legal staff.

Quote of the Week

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” – Larry J. Sabato