Close to 100 people attended an Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) meeting in Philadelphia to encourage support for the S1983 bill in Congress, which would grant E-3 temporary work visas to 10,000 Irish per year.
Among those represented were several AOH divisions, the GAA, and community leaders from around the state.
ILIR president Ciaran Staunton told the assembled group that a major effort was underway this year to pass the legislation sponsored by New York Senator Charles Schumer, and that Pennsylvania played a leading role.
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He stated that Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey, a Republican, was a key figure as the bill badly needed Republican support.
Schumer has promised 53 Democratic votes for the bill, but it needs another seven in minimum support from Republicans to pass the Senate and defeat a filibuster.
ILIR will be conducting a major cross-country attempt over the next few weeks to secure the likely votes for victory.
“We believe there is an excellent opportunity this time around,” said Staunton. “We need to get out communities from coast to coast focused on this.”