Despite heavy snowfall  on Thursday, 19th January, over 400 people attended a meeting at the West Side Irish American Club, Greater Cleveland’s to meet the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).

ILIR visited Ohio to enlist support for the current Irish E3 Visa Bill (Senate Bill 1983). The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Schumer. 

The lobbyist group was also enlisting support within the Irish American community to persuade U.S. Senator Rob Portman to support S1983.

Speaking at Cleveland’s largest and oldest Irish club Ciaran Staunton, President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, explained that neither the 400 Irish present nor their ancestors could have immigrated from Ireland to the USA under the current immigration law.

Many of those in attendance had immigrated to Ohio before the 1965 Immigration Act was passed.

While in Cleveland ILIR engaged in a series of public and private meetings with Irish American organizations and leaders in the Northern Ohio area.  Among those pledging support were: Cleveland City Council President, Martin Sweeney, Members of the Ohio AOH, including past Ohio AOH President Roger Weist and current AOH National Director, Danny O’ Connell as well as members of the GAA and other community groups.

A crucial meeting took place on Friday between Senator Portman’s Ohio staff and leaders of the Irish American Ohio community to lobby for support of the Irish E3 visa and to advise Senator Portman on their position regarding the importance of this issue to their community.

Clevland Irish leader, Attorney John Myers stated that the “The Irish American Community is mobilized in it’s support for  Senate Bill 1983 and understands the importance of Senator Portman’s support in getting to the magic “60” in the U.S. Senate.”