In a major breakthrough, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said that the Irish E3 visa bill which he filed is “about to pop” on Capitol Hill. The Republican Senator has said it is possible it will pass as soon as this week.
Speaking to the Boston Herald, Brown, whose bi-partisan workmanship could make this bill happen, stated, “It really addresses something that’s been wrong and provides a legal path for citizenship.”
The bill would allow 10,000 Irish a year to come on two-year work visas that could then be renewed every two years. It is an amendment attached to a wider bill dealing with hi tech visas for Indians and Chinese as well as shortening waiting time restrictions on Hispanic groups. The wider bill passed the House on near unanimous terms,
The Senator said, “In Massachusetts we have such a strong demand for this because of our family and cultural ties. This is kind of a no brainer.”
Former Congressman Bruce Morrison, chief lobbyist for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, welcomed the Brown statement. "This is very good news, we need to make sure it happens as soon as possible", he said.
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GOP Senator Scott Brown now the key figure in Irish E3 visa battle
Last year, Senator Charles Schumer filed a similar bill (S1983), which was different to Brown’s bill in one key respect that it allowed undocumented to potentially apply. Schumer has now withdrawn that provision.
Republicans stopped that bill in the senate as it included what Brown claimed was a “backdoor amnesty.” He said “It wasn’t going anywhere”.
Brown filed a bill which would allow the number of work visas from Ireland per year to reach 10,500, but he struggled to find support after GOP Senator Charles Grassley held up the wider legislation.
Last week, Brown wrote a letter to the Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley asking for his support. It appears he may be close to gaining it. Brown now says he’s hoping the senators will pass this bill with unanimous consent, and no amendments.
Meanwhile the Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that "Senator Charles Grassley, ... who has held up Schumer’s bill because of immigration issues unrelated to the Irish work visa provision, is hoping to broker a compromise with Brown, his office said Tuesday night."
Brown told the Boston Herald “It helps people become legal citizens, proper taxpayers. I’m trying to work with Sen. Grassley to have them step back from their objections.”
The E3 visas would allow Irish who have a job offer for a specialty occupation to work in the US. The two-year visa would be easily renewed for an unlimited amount of time. This bill also carries no additional cost.