There is new hope for the thousands of undocumented Irish in the U.S. with the news that Senator Charles Schumer intends to have a comprehensive immigration reform bill ready by Labor Day.
Schumer (D-NY), who replaced Senator Edward Kennedy as the chair of the immigration sub-committee, is steering an immigration overhaul through the Senate.
"I think we'll have a good bill by Labor Day," said Schumer, D-N.Y. "I think the fundamental building blocks are in place to do comprehensive immigration reform."
Schumer said the only way to get a bill through the Senate was by being tough on future illegal immigration.
However, he said that the U.S. neded to find a way for people who are already way to get on some kind of path to legal status.
President Barack Obama, who has said he is committed to immigration reform, wants a bill in the House by the fall.
Paul Sharkey, an undocumented Irish immigrant who spoke to IrishCentral.com today, said he was "cautious but hopeful."
"I have been here since 1990," he said, "and I've had my hopes raised and dashed so many times I've lost count."
"I hope this bill comes through. I just wish I could be here legally and not living in the shadows."
Paul, like many other undocumented Irish immigrants, is working and paying city, state and federal taxes.
"I wish the Republicans would see us as an advantage, and not a drain on the economy," he said.
"I have the full 40 credits for Social Security but I will never be able to use it unless I get legalized."
"All that money is just going into a black hole. I don't know what happens to the tens of thousands of dollars I have paid in taxes."
Also today, the Department of Homeland Security has said it will abandon a Bush administration plan that would have forced employers to fire workers when there is a mismatch between their Social Security numbers and their names.
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space