There is new hope for the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US, a former US Congressman has said.
Bruce Morrison, a long time proponent of immigration reform met with Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore in Dublin on Tuesday.
A Washington lobbyist and immigration attorney, he was the author of the Morrison green card program back in the 1990s that granted nearly 50,000 visas for Irish citizens
During his trip to Ireland,Morrison addressed members of the Oireachtas on the issue of immigration reform at a briefing organised by Seanad spokesperson for the Irish diaspora Senator Mark Daly.
The immigration attorney outlined the political atmosphere in the US following the recent reelection of President Obama with much focus now on the immigration Issue and the need forimmigration reform.
Following his briefing, Senator Daly pledged to form an All Party Oireachtas Committee to work on the issue of the 50,000 undocumented Irish currently in the United States.
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Speaking to RTE Radio, Morrison said a deal for the Irish E3 visa was likely to pass.
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Under the E3, 10,500 Irish citizens would be eligible to work in the US each year, as long as they secure employment before moving to the US.
“It’s up right now and it could be voted on by the end of the year- that’s only a 50-50 shot but we have an agreement in the senate to get it done and it will get done either ahead of comprehensive reform or part of comprehensive reform.”
“There’s no doubt that it will happen, but when.”
Commenting on Obama’s reelection victory, Morrison expressed confidence in the President’s commitment to immigration reform.
“I think the president, having been reelected, has redoubled his commitment to working on this problem.
“Exactly how it's going to go forward, the form of the legislation, who is going to be covered, how quickly they're going to be covered… these are all very much up in the air.”
Morrison pointed out the undocumented Irish will not get preferential treatment from Washington.
“There are two things that are important about the Irish. They will get equal treatment … they won't get a preference and they won't get anything less.
“Also we're working hard on creating a new channel for Irish people who want to come and work in the US because we know there is a demand.”
“The E3 Visa is not a substitute for legalisation. It's a compliment to legalisation.”
Listen to the full interview on RTÉ’s News at One, here.