A major push from the Irish American community for comprehensive immigration reform was announced at the New York Athletic club on Thursday night when $200,000 was raised for the fight for reform.

Honored on the night were Brendan Murray with the Pat Donaghy Award and Mike Brewster with the Irish Spirit Award. Over 200 Irish American leaders were in attendance.

Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform President Ciaran Staunton stated that the best opportunity since 1965 now existed to change immigration law forever and that the Irish were not going to be left behind.

He stated that the E3 Schumer visas in the bill which would allow 10,500 Irish citizens to emigrate legally every year would be covered by the bill and that 50,000 Irish undocumented would also be covered. “This is our best chance in a generation,” he said.

He stated that Senator Charles Schumer had delivered in a powerful way and the the Schumer E3 visas would change the face of the Irish community forever.

Martin Brennan Chief of Staff  for Senator Schumer stated that 99 percent of activism on major bills was when the going was toughest and uphill. He said ILIR had stayed focused and at the center of the fight despite setbacks and tough years.

Now he stated the Irish lobby had reached the crest of the hill and one more push and the bill could get passed.

“We are in a better place than we have been in a very long time,” he said.

He dated Senator Schumer’s involvement with ILIR and his promise to deliver to his attendance at a mass rally in The Bronx for immigration reform soon after ILIR was founded in 2005.

“Senator Schumer made a commitment then and he has always kept to it,” he said.

Michael Brewster, a senior Wall Street executive, stated now was the time to get involved. ”This is the opportunity we have been waiting for," he said.

Senator Charles Schumer speaking at a ILIR eventILIR