Despite the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, this could now be an opportunity for Ireland to broker a reciprocal arrangement on new E3 working visas for Irish, argues a weekend  editorial  in The Irish Times.

Currently, Australia has their own E3 visa scheme which allows them 10,500 visas a year. The Irish lobby has long argued seeking a similar program makes the best sense for the Irish, both undocumented and in Ireland, where many would jump at the opportunity to emigrate.

The switch to backing a new E3 program and away from comprehensive reform is a significant move from the newspaper of record which often reflects government opinion.

Last week, new government undocumented envoy John Deasy estimated that the number of undocumented Irish living in the US was closer to 10,000 — a figure significantly lower than the 50,000 that has been suggested for years. This new estimate, which was sourced from a demographer and the Pew Research Center, does not mean that the plight of the undocumented should be taken any less seriously proposes The Irish Times.

“The prospect of comprehensive immigration reform appears remote given how the Trump administration is steered by an anti-immigrant agenda and fervent nationalists. Still, there may be some opening for a new legal Irish immigration route. Trump is said to have shown enthusiasm for some deal for the Irish when he met Kenny in the Oval Office during his annual St Patrick’s Day visit only for Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, to pour cold water on the idea.”

Deasy worked for several years on Capitol Hill. The Waterford TD, who has Republican connections in Washington, is “well placed” to make a bid on a new reciprocal arrangement. The Irish Times says that the idea of an Irish E3 has been around for years and would be an easier way to secure legal status. While it might only help a limited number of undocumented Irish, it could be a good start.

Ireland's special envoy to the US John Deasy. Screencapture/RTE