|Sen. Charles Schumer|
Sounding very upbeat, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), architect of the senate immigration bill says he is now very confident that 10,500 Schumer visas will be passed as part of the bill.
He asked for the Irish community across the U.S. to “gear up” to help passage of the overall immigration bill.
In a Friday afternoon interview with Irish Central and other Irish American media Schumer said the 10,500 would be set-aside for Irish immigrants every year and spouses would not count against the numbers.
Those applying would need a high school education and can renew the visa every two years.
“The Schumer visas will be part of an immigration bill, this has been a long time goal of mine to make sure we have a permanent program for Irish immigration, not one that expires…”, he said
“Ted Kennedy’s spirit is hovering over this bill said Schumer saying he was inspired by the late Massachusetts senator to seek redress for the Irish.
“Senator Kennedy in 2006 said an unintended consequence of the 1965 Act had been to shut out the Irish from America.”
He quoted Kennedy as saying “What we were trying to do was eliminate discrimination.. but worked in a very dramatic and significant way against the Irish.
Schumer says he believes the immigration bill can pass in the senate before the end of June and with goodwill it can pass the House by the end of summer, early Fall.
The New York Times reported Friday that house bipartisan negotiators had reached agreement in principle on a House version of the bill.
Saying he was now over 90 per cent confident that the Schumer visas would be in any final bill from the senate, Schumer called for an all out effort by the Irish American community to push for the comprehensive bill.
“The greatest danger that this is not law is that comprehensive immigration reform will not pass. The Irish bill will be part if it passes he said.”
The overall package Schumer says has a better than 50 per cent chance of it passing.
He said the effort by Iowa Republican Charles Grassley to remove the Irish provision from the bill failed utterly.
He stated the Grassley amendment to kill the Irish bill got no support even from Republican hardliners.
“Senator Grassley got no support from any of the others and he withdrew his amendment. It bodes very well,” he said.
The Schumer visa is a better bill than the Morrison visas, or Donnelly visas bills, which both had time limits, he said.