Category: Archive

Hibernians back U.S. Irish visa deal

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Hopes for a bilateral deal, perhaps similar to one that exists between the U.S. and Australia, have risen in recent months as hopes for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington have fallen.
AOH New York State President Matt Nelligan, and Board Chairman of Immigration, Dan Dennehy, issued a joint statement this week saying that the AOH New York State Board applauded the efforts of Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern in addressing the issue of immigration between the United States and Ireland during his recent visit to the U.S.
The Hibernian statement said that in meetings with top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Minister Ahern expressed his desire to pursue a reciprocal allotment of visas for the people of Ireland and the U.S. Ahern, the statement said, pointed out that many of the undocumented Irish are here as a direct result of the past conflict and political situation in the North and with the development of an all-island economy, Ireland would benefit from a reciprocal deal with the US.
“We agree with Ahern that any new agreement must take account of the heightened awareness of security in the U.S. following the attacks of 9/11/2001 while making it easier for Irish people to move to the U.S. and for Americans to live in Ireland,” the Hibernian statement said.
“The robust nature of the Irish economy has strengthened US business ties and many Americans desire to work there. Currently, it is virtually impossible for Irish immigrants to secure legal working status in the U.S.
“Last year an appalling low number of Irish were able to secure Diversity Lottery visas. The Irish received approximately 250 out of the 50,000 available visas. The NYS Board believes that a reciprocal immigration deal would repair these disparities,” the statement added.
And it continued: “The NYS Board has consistently supported all visa programs specific to Irish Immigrants and all bilateral agreements between the Republic of Ireland and the U.S.
“We strive to secure a fair quota of work visas for Irish people to fix the inequities of the past. We believe very strongly that the cause of undocumented Irish Immigrants and the security interests of the United States are best served by this approach.
“As Irish-Americans we cannot ignore the plight of our Irish brothers and sisters, and at the same time we should never support any plan that may undermine the security of our country.
“The Failure of comprehensive Immigration reform, due in part to the concerns of many Americans about its ability to address security issues, points to the fact that Minister Ahern is on the right track. Now it is time for all interested parties to join us in convincing our government officials to adopt a workable and fair approach to this issue.”
Meanwhile, the Diversity Visa (DV) 2009 lottery online entry facility opened at Noon on October 3, 2007 and ends at Noon EST on December 2. Details from the U.S. State Department at www.state.gov.

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