Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has reiterated his commitment to the passage of his Irish E-3 visa bill, and appealed to his critics to let him do his job.
In an exclusive interview with the Adrian Flannelly radio show, due to be broadcast this Saturday morning on Irishradio.net, Brown expressed confidence regarding the passage of the bill which could potentially grant the Irish 10,500 annual work visas.
“There’s been some pretty good movement over the past week or so,” Brown told Flannelly.
On February 8, Brown said the visa bill he filed was “about to pop” on Capitol Hill. However, he was criticized recently concerning the lack of progress.
“When I said it was going to pop, I meant the issue was popping, the issue is being talked about,” Brown explained.
“Not only is it being talked about, but there are very serious negotiations taking place.
“You have a tremendous amount of gridlock in Washington right now and to think anything is just going to sail right through is not right.
“I would just ask for a lot of the groups who are criticizing not only me, but other members, whether it’s (Senators) Schumer or Grassley, just stand down and let us do our jobs because it is not helpful.”
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa had put a hold on the bill in the Senate. With negotiations ongoing, Brown is confident he can garner support from his fellow GOP senator.
“He (Grassley) has concerns, so my job is to try and help him have those concerns addressed,” Brown said.
“I don’t care whose name is on the top of the bill, I just want to get it done,” he added.
During the extended interview, Brown said it was a challenge to change some of the institutional beliefs concerning immigration.
“Since 2000-2009 only 15,000 Irish have emigrated to the U.S. Compare that to 545,000 for the Philippines or 590,000 for India -- it goes to show you,” Brown said. “We need to fix it.”
On St. Patrick’s Day, Brown attended an ILIR meeting with a small group of Irish leaders in Boston.
Hugh Meehan, the Boston president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) told the Irish Voice that the meeting went very well.
“Brown is doing his part lobbying GOP reps,” Meehan said.
“It has come a long way in three months and hopefully we can keep the momentum. He does understand the urgency and he is acting on it.”