Category: Archive

ILIR and AOH forge a southern strategy

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The meeting, also attended by ILIR consultant, former congressman Bruce Morrison, discussed immigration reform proposals and their impact on the Irish American community.
Sen. Graham, who recently held discussions with visiting Irish foreign minister Miche_l Martin (see Inside File, Page 5) said he was interested to learn of the Irish dimension to the immigration reform debate.
He urged Irish and Irish American leaders to continue to make their voices heard on the issue.
Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina and an influential member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform during the present Congress.
He was a supporter of the McCain/Kennedy reform bill and the ultimately unsuccessful Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.
Last week’s meeting was part of the ILIR effort to demonstrate the Irish dimension in the broader immigration issue to key policy makers across the U.S. on a state by state and bipartisan basis.
According to Ciaran Staunton, Graham was unambiguous in saying that he supported both legalization for the undocumented and a targeted program for future flows from Ireland modeled on the E-3 proposal as part of comprehensive legislation.
“He underscored the positive contribution that advocacy by the Irish played for him in showing people in South Carolina that this issue is not just about one ethnic group,” Staunton said.
Graham, and New York’s Senator Charles Schumer, are widely viewed as the bipartisan successors of the McCain-Kennedy partnership. Schumer, vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference, is in talks with Graham about teaming up to pass major immigration reform.
“Senator Graham is the guy,” Schumer has stated.
“If the administration wants to embrace immigration reform, I will try to be helpful”, Graham has stated.
A spokesman for the senator added that “Senator Graham is ready and willing to play a key role in immigration reform. He intends to work with many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”
Staunton welcomed Graham’s support as evidence of a bi-partisan push for reform.
“Meaningful immigration reform legislation can only happen with bipartisan cooperation.
“The leadership on the issue shown by Senators Schumer and Graham is crucial. The support of local, state and national members and leaders of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is an important part of this process and we are grateful for their commitment,” he said.
“I would like to personally thank Senator Graham on behalf of all the AOH divisions in South Carolina for his leadership on this issue, and for his understanding on how it impacts the future of Irish America,” said Jim Lawracy.

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