Irish leader says comprehensive immigration reform likely dead


Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has promised to make every effort to bring about immigration reform which would allow more Irish to emigrate legally to America and help those living here undocumented.

Given that comprehensive reform looks ever more difficult other avenues would be explored he said. Speaking to Irish America Magazine Kenny stated that the E3 visa program which would allow 10,000 Irish a year to work legally in America will be a major priority for his government. The E3 is a non immigrant visa which allows workers in for two year periods that can be renewed.

Kenny stated; “Obviously the changed situation on the Hill (since the last election) means that you are not going to have comprehensive immigration legislation in the near future. 

I do note the words of President Obama himself, where he said that he would work with all organizations, including Republicans in respect of the immigration challenge. 

Now since the incident in Pakistan and the death of Osama Bin Laden, obviously the vigilance in terms of American borders will increase. And I think, perhaps out of this, might come a renewed reflection on the way both Republicans and Democrats, whom I can't speak for, obviously, will look at the question of comprehensive immigration.

If that's not to be the case, Ireland will pursue and continue to pursue, the well-being of our Irish diaspora here through the E3 Visa situation which provides some degree of certainty for those who are here, with an opportunity to renew visas. And I'm going to see to it that we going to continue to work with Democrats and Republicans on the Hill in that regard.
Here are extracts from the rest of the interview:

What's it like to lead a party change during such a tumultuous time?

It's be been like a tornado really in the last 8 weeks. The ending of the general election campaign, the formation of the new government and unveiling the economic challenges that the country faces.

I see a number of priorities. Abraham Lincoln used to say, tell the people the truth and the country is in safe hands. To unearth the scale of the economic challenge in the country has taken some time.  No government in the history of our State faces the scale of the economic challenge that I face, and yet there has never been a time of better opportunity. to deal with certain things that are wrong with out country and that's what we are about.

So we want to set about demonstrating that we are serious, -- a new government with a different set of priorities -- no messing here. We want to end the confusion and provide certainty.  That's why we have made decisive decisions about the banks.  That's why we are focusing on investment in jobs as a priority. And that's why we are dealing with a restoration of good health to our public finances.