Irish Community Connectionsby Irish Community News
- 2013 Connecticut Irish Festival
- Upcoming Events at the ICC: Whitey Bulger Discussion & Whiskey Tasting
- Immigration News
- Senior moments from the IPC
- Keep your USCIS employment authorization current
US Citizenship-the interview
Are you a J-1 summer student up at 3am and needing help searching for a job? Now the IIIC has a Facebook page dedicated to the J-1 summer students in Boston titled “IIIC J1 Summer Guide to Boston”. We are excited to be able to expand these resources this year to the online presence on Facebook. This page was introduced in order to provide J-1 students with around-the-clock access to information on jobs, housing, safety, and general information about Boston.
‘Lifebox’ holding all your vital information
Cheryl and Colleen joined us from Care Resolutions this week at Cafe Eireann to tell us about ‘LifeBox.'
The so-called two-year rule applies to certain categories of J1 visa holders, requiring the trainee affected to return home at the end of their stay in the US for two years before being eligible to apply for a change in visa status or reentry to the US in H, L or permanent resident (green card) status. This rule often called the 212(e) rule after the relevant section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, applies to J1 exchange visitors who:
(a) have received either US or home government funding to participate in the exchange activity for example Fulbright scholars;
Are you interested in becoming a US Citizen? If you have been a Legal Permanent Resident for the past 4 years and 9 months or longer, or are married to a US citizen for the past 2 years and 9 months or longer, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
You may also have a lot of questions about U.S. naturalization including the processing time, the application fee and perhaps some other issues that have been bothering you.
You may also be looking for help preparing for the citizenship exam, why not consider receiving help from the experienced staff at the Irish International Immigrant Center.
We have seen lots of new faces around the IIIC office in the last few weeks and that can only mean one thing, that the summer has arrived and so too have the Irish students on J1 Summer Visas in Boston.
The J1 Summer work and travel program allows full time third level students to enter the U.S on a J1 exchange visitor program to work and travel anywhere in the U.S for up to four months.
You may have seen the disturbing report written by Dr. Noel Richardson and published earlier this year indicating that Ireland has the highest suicide rate in Europe, with over 260 people taking their own lives on the island of Ireland in 2011 alone.
In Boston, 553 people took their own lives in 2011. We here in WES believe that suicide can be prevented and continue to work hard to prevent it. We have run a number of very positive and empowering QPR workshops for the Irish community here in Boston already this year and plan more this summer.
Q: I have a green card and am very interested in the issues and candidates in the upcoming elections for US Senator, Mayor of Boston, City Council, etc. Am I allowed to take part in any way, or will I get into trouble with the government?
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.
Gary's wife and family wish to thank all those who sympathized with us both in Boston and in Sligo on our tragic loss.
We wish to thank the New York State Police and the Staff of Saratoga Hospital, friends and family who traveled to Saratoga Hospital.
The Irish Pastoral Center is planning to organize a phone bank to flood the Senate and House of Representatives with calls in support of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.
The IPC, which has a long history of working with the undocumented Irish, are hoping to do their part in the attempt to pass the reform bill which could provide a pathway to citizenship for thousands of working immigrants.
BCMFest will hold their 11th Annual Showcase of Boston's Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic music in January 2014.
Every year, BCMFest invites performers to submit an application that describes themselves and the musical or dance act they wish to share in the festival's upbeat, all-ages-friendly environment.
Denial of entry on visa waiver program (VWP)
One of my callers this week was calling because he had been denied entry to the USA. Arriving at Logan airport, he was inspected by Customs and Border Protection officials who denied him entry. They were not satisfied as to the true intent of his visit to the US. During questioning and examination of his smart phone, certain emails contained information which prompted officials to deem him not eligible to enter.
CBP wrote “Refused under section 217” on his passport and he was directed to the next flight leaving from Boston for Ireland. We consulted attorney Chris Lavery on the matter. “This individual was refused entry under the visa waiver program for not meeting requirements, and that’s basically what section 217 refers to,” attorney Lavery pointed out. The individual does have the option of formally applying for a visitor’s visa at the US Embassy in Ireland although there is also a risk of denial there. Having evidence of non-immigrant intent is very important in such a case.
Evidence of non immigrant intent
Please feel free to call Eileen at 617 265 5300 x 13 for more information on IPC Senior Citizen Outreach Program activities and services.
Irish Senior Connect, the Senior listening and friendship line, is asking Boston area seniors to think about someone you know who would benefit from a weekly check- in telephone call to see how they are feeling and have a chat.
Perhaps it’s someone who you used to see at a weekly senior center or local social event, but who isn’t getting out much lately. It might be a friend or relative who may be recovering after a hospitalization and would appreciate a friendship call.
If there is someone you are thinking of, would you please call and tell them about our listening line and ask them if it would be okay for us to call them. If they would like a call, just let us know and we will put them on our list.
A: This actually is a simple issue, but it can be confusing. First of all, some people believe that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require a wife to take her husband’s name when applying for permanent residence. That is not correct. A wife is free to keep her maiden name, take her husband’s name, or use a hyphenated combination of both names. The choice has no significance for immigration purposes.
Also, there is no problem arising from the inconsistency between identity documents such as birth certificates and the US permanent resident card. When you apply for permanent residence, there are places on the USCIS forms to indicate both your current name (in your case, your married name) plus any names previously used (for you, your maiden name). Then the immigration authorities will process your case in your married name and the green card will be issued in that name.
1. Could the IIIC have handled the situation better?
YES – On behalf of the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), I want to apologize for the recent incident involving the Irish graduate in New York City on the J-1 IWT (Irish Work and Travel) visa program under our sponsorship. My apology is sincere and unequivocal. At the same time however, it is also my responsibility as the IIIC’s Executive Director to clarify this situation now that our dedicated, hard-working staff has repeatedly been unfairly maligned and certain untruths seem to have taken hold as “fact” when they are the furthest from it.
We recognize that our communications with the intern could have been handled with more sensitivity. We are performing a review of the incident and our operating procedures for the J-1 IWT Visa program. This review will be chaired by two people from outside the organization, and we are committed to making the changes that are recommended.
2. Did the IIIC “turn in” an Irish J-1 graduate to immigration authorities?
NO – The IIIC did not contact, phone or e-mail Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or the US Department of State. After our phone call with the intern, we changed her status to “Program Completed” – not “Terminated” -- and by doing so, we ensured that no red flag was raised on her case and that she would be able to return to the United States in the future. We tried to make this as soft a landing as possible. There are a number of reasons that programs end before their end date such as illness, homesickness, etc. To all appearances, she could have been going home for any reason. We followed up the phone call with a letter.
, or contact Mary Henry at 781-545-2444 or maryusa@Marianpilgrimages.com
John, may your gentle soul Rest in Peace.
Boston Irish Festival: June 7, 8, & 9. Three days and three stages of non-stop, rock your socks off Celtic music at the largest Irish festival on the east coast. Fun for the whole family! Details at www.BostonIrishFestival.info.
Whitey Bulger: A Discussion: Tuesday, June 21st. 7:30pm. FREE for ICC Members & $15 General Admission. TJ English is a journalist and nonfiction crime writer whose latest book,Whitey’s Payback, discusses the last of the old-fashioned gangsters. English has previously appeared on NPR and The Daily Show. Join us in hearing firsthand about Whitey’s past and present.
Weekly Events at the ICC
Prove it! Tug of War is a competitive sport in which two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line in a test of strength.
The Boston Irish Festival will hold its first-annual Tug of War contest on Saturday June 8th and Sunday June 9th. The competition begins on Saturday at 4pm, with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals and finals held Sunday at 4pm.
Team members may dress as a team representing a particular club, organization, or business. Appropriate footwear must be worn, no spikes or steel capped boots allowed.
The Boston Irish Festival’s Irish 5K Road Race is here! We welcome all participants - runners, walkers, wheelchairs, and children.
Kick-off your Sunday by running in our flat-as-a-pancake race here on the ICC grounds, and receive FREE admission into the festival on Sunday with your bib number to catch entertainment like Atlantic Steps, Devri, the Tom Lannigan Band, Rakish Paddy, and more.
Packet pickup will be from 7:30-8:30am the day of the race, with the race kicking off at 9:00am.
Taoiseach ends successful visit
This week our Taoiseach Enda Kenny ended another successful visit to the Boston area. On Saturday night, IPC Chaplain Fr. John McCarthy and board Chair Sheila Gleeson attended a dinner along with the Taoiseach and other Irish and Irish American leaders at the John F. Kennedy Library here in Dorchester. The dinner commemorated the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Taoiseach Kenny and the Department of Foreign Affairs have remained engaged in Washington DC supporting efforts to advance immigration reform proposal, and we appreciate all of their work in that regard.
Irish Apostolate lobby in DC
For full article see the Metro, Wednesday May 22, by Linda Clarke.
Q: I am filing for legal permanent resident status, based on my marriage to a US citizen. I understand that a medical examination is part of the application process. Why is that necessary? Can I just get the exam done by our family doctor?
A: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires medical examinations in order to determine whether there are any public health-related issues that would affect a prospective immigrant’s admissibility to the United States. The exam can identify medical conditions that require follow-up care and the physician will ensure that required vaccinations have been administered. Note that an applicant for permanent residence who came to the US on a K fiancé or spouse visa will have had a medical examination as part of the visa application process at home and will not need to repeat the full procedure when applying for adjustment of status here in the US. Such persons must, however, meet the vaccination requirement.
All medical examinations include a physical examination, a mental health status evaluation, a skin test for tuberculosis, and a blood test. Generally speaking, the results of the examination are valid for twelve months for submission with an immigration application.
On the night we were delighted to be joined by Sean Pettis, the coordinator of the Facing Our History, Shaping the Future project. Sean travelled all the way over from Northern Ireland to join us for the film screening and to partake in an engaging Q&A with the audience after the film. Sean has been working with Corrymeela since September 2010, he has 10 years experience in the design of the delivery and the evaluation of community relations and active citizenship programs. Sean holds a Bachelors degree in Arts and Modern History and Politics and a post graduate diploma in community youth work.
We would like to thank Sean for joining us for the Film Screening and being part of the question and answer session afterwards. A special thanks to The International Fund for Ireland, who supported the production of the film through its 'Sharing in Education Programme' which is managed on behalf of the Fund by the Department of Education. We would also like to thank those who attended and took part in the discussion after the film.
The group left Boston on Friday with supervisors Lisa McAleer and Sinead Mullan to return home. We wish them every success for the future.
“My goal has always been to serve the people I represent with honor, respect and pride” said Koutoujian in a recent statement. “Growing up in Waltham, I was taught by my parents - both public servants - about the responsibility our elected officials have to those they represent. Throughout my nearly 25 years in public service as a former prosecutor, State Representative and now as Sheriff, that sense of responsibility has served as my guiding principal and is why I would be honored to continue to represent in Congress the district that’s always been home to me.”
Upcoming Events: Boston Irish Festival
- Boston Irish Festival: June 7, 8, & 9. Three days and three stages of non-stop, rock your socks off Celtic music at the largest Irish festival on the east coast. Fun for the whole family! Details at www.BostonIrishFestival.info.
- Whitey Bulger: A Discussion. Tuesday, June 21st. 7:30pm. FREE for ICC Members & $15 General Admission. TJ English is a journalist and nonfiction crime writer whose latest book,Whitey’s Payback, discusses the last of the old-fashioned gangsters. English has previously appeared on NPR and The Daily Show. Join us in hearing firsthand about Whitey’s past and present.
- Mondays: Set Dancing for Adults with Cait Bracken every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $5 donation at the door. No partner necessary.
- Friday Live Music in the Pub: The Auld Locals. Friday, May 24th. 8-11pm. No cover.
- Friday ICC Comhaltas Seisiún led by John Kearney in the McGettigan & Stewart Room starting at 7 p.m.
- Saturday ICC Seisiún led by Stuart Peak and Sean Kane in the ICC Pub starting at 8:30 p.m.
The ICC offers parking in the main lot, handicap accessibility and an elevator. For tickets and information about events at the Irish Cultural Centre, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton MA 02021, please visit www.IrishCulture.org or call the ICC office at 781-821-8291.
Whether you are a fan of traditional, contemporary, ballads, or instrumental Irish music, this year’s Boston Irish Festival has a little something for everyone. Stay tunes for a spotlight on more acts to come, and make sure you head over to the festival on June 7, 8, & 9 to catch some of this great talent!
At a recent clinic, an applicant for US citizenship admitted he had not registered with Selective Service and this brought up naturalization eligibility issues.
Selective Service Registration is the government’s way of keeping a database of young men who may be called on in case of draft or a national emergency. You are required to register with Selective Service if you are between the age of 18 and 26. Young men convicted of failure to register may be fined up to $25,000 imprisoned for up to five years, or both. In addition to being subject to prosecution, failure to register may cause you to permanently forfeit eligibility for certain benefits. Not registering is a felony.
Please feel free to call Eileen at 617 265 5300 x 13 for more information on IPC Senior Citizen Outreach Program activities and services.
We had a wonderful Graduation Party on Tuesday at our Quincy venue, Hancock Park, in Quincy Center. This was our 15th Course to graduate with over 460 home health aides being trained since 2009 and over 83% of these all getting work as a result!
We had a wonderful evening celebrating, presenting certificates, eating delicious food while enjoying great music of some Irish classic ballads and rousing crowd pleasers played by Maureen McNally and Max Courtney. Check out our party pictures on our Facebook page!
We are so grateful for all the continued support from the office of the Consulate General of Ireland in Boston as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland!
Gemma summed up her time with: “I love Boston, it’s a place where you have to try to be bored!”
Please join us at the Irish International Immigrant Center as we screen the new Irish film 'UP Standing: Stories of Courage from Northern Ireland.' This feature had its premiere two weeks ago in Belfast and the IIIC has been selected to host the next broadcast.
In 'UP Standing,' ten diverse accounts of people are exposed as they stood up to violence, discrimination and prejudice in Northern Ireland. The event will take place at the IIIC office at 100 Franklin Street, Lower Level 1, Boston 02110 on Thursday, May 23rd at 6pm.
According to recent census estimates, more than half of nearly one million immigrants in Massachusetts are US citizens; 22,812 became citizens in 2011 alone. And nationwide, forty-five percent of immigrants are US citizens. If you are among those eligible but are apprehensive about the process, let the expert staff of the IIIC help!
Q: I’m undocumented and have been married to a US citizen for some time. We haven’t gotten around to filing for my green card based on my marriage. In the meantime, we’ve had two children born in the US. Does this affect my immigration status?
A: While your children are US citizens themselves simply by virtue of their birth in the US, this has no automatic effect on your immigration status as the parent. You still are undocumented, and you still could be removed from the US if you come to the attention of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick was this week in Ireland as part of an effort to create business links between Ireland and Massachusetts.
Governor Patrick traveled to Ireland late Tuesday evening (May 14). On Wednesday morning the governor, along with Senate President Therese Murray who was in Ireland for 10 days, met with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to expanding opportunities for economic development and job creation between Massachusetts and Ireland.
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny received an honorary degree and will also be the official commencement speaker at the Boston College 137th graduation ceremony.
University Spokesman Jack Dunn said that Boston College is delighted to have the Taoiseach speak at its Commencement, given the school’s historic ties to Ireland and Northern Ireland.