Hugh Meehan, the Chairman of the ILIR in Boston, led a key delegation to the Capitol Thursday to meet with the new Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown.
Meehan said the meeting was extremely useful, adding that Brown was "very knowledgeable about the role Irish immigrants have played in Massachusetts."
But, Meehan said, like many other politicians across the country, "he did not realize how much hardship newer Irish immigrants were suffering."
"We explained that there is a large number of undocumented Irish in Massachusetts and that it was next to impossible for an Irish person to come here legally," he said.
The delegation discussed the Morrison and Donnelly visas that had done so much to revitalize areas of Boston.
"When some people in the immigration debate say to the undocumented, 'go wait in line to legally come to the U.S.,' they don't know there is no line for Irish immigrants to get in to," said Meehan.
Meehan said he knew of several cases where businesses and families in Boston have hit a dead end in sponsoring a relative or friend over from Ireland.
"The family-based system does not help us," he said, adding that they explained that even the architect of the 1965 act, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, had admitted that.
"Current immigration law does not help the Irish come here so we're locked out every way."
Meehan said the ILIR would now be in regular contact with his staff, "whom we found to be extremely helpful," and said they hope to meet with Sen. Brown at a future date in Boston.
The meeting was organized by Boston businessman and ILIR chairman Hugh Meehan. The delegation that met with Brown included Ciaran Staunton President, Hugh Meehan Chairman ILIR Boston, Jimmy Gallagher President ILIR Boston, and ILIR lobbyist Bruce Morrison.
During the day, Staunton also met New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and other Senate staffers.
He also had a series of phone calls with members of the Irish American community urging them to contact and meet with Senator Judd Greg to get him to support the Schumer initiative.
Raise a glass to Robert Emmet, the Irish rebel leader executed on this day in 1803