The announcement of the regulations for the new student and graduate visa program which will allow up to 20,000 a year to come to the U.S. and work for a year is an encouraging first step. Most importantly, it will allow thousands of Irish to come and live in America for a year and work here. At a time when it is impossible to emigrate legally, this is an important development. Of course it is a long way from solving the long-term issue of the Irish undocumented here and, also, the need for a way to be found for Irish in Ireland to emigrate legally here for the long term. Last year Ireland got less than 2,000 work visas out of 1.2 million handed out. However, the Irish government has now shown the ability to achieve an immigration breakthrough, and the focus now will be on sorting out the undocumented issue as well as ensuring a visa scheme that will allow a fair number of Irish to come her every year legally. Those are not easy issues to resolve, but the hope is that the new administration and Congress will be revisiting the immigration issue sooner rather than later.

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