ILIR will be sending lobbying teams drawn from Irish communities all over the U.S. to the offices of all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 senators, said ILIR executive director Kelly Fincham.
The House tour by ILIR members will include a stop at the office of Rep. Peter King, co-author of the House bill that does not include a plan for earned legalization.
“Right now we’re sitting in the last chance saloon. It’s D.C. or Shannon,” Fincham told the Echo.
“We need as many people as possible to turn up for the day in Washington. Senators Kennedy and McCain really feel that we changed the course of the immigration debate in the Senate,” Fincham said.
“But our Washington rally in March was not enough on its own. This is a game of two halves,” she emphasized.
ILIR is banking not just on raw numbers for the Wednesday, June 28 effort in the nation’s capital, but also a wide geographic spread among the participants.
The plan is to be able to send groups from all major cities and key states to the offices of individual legislators.
ILIR is seeking direct meetings with every member of both the House and Senate.
Failing this, the group will ask to meet top legislative aides or, at the very least, present aides with ILIR campaign literature.
“We want to make it clear that immigration reform is an Irish issue,” Fincham said.
The group has been holding rallies in recent days around the country. A gathering in San Francisco raised roughly $20,000 and the money will be used to send a delegation to Washington on June 28.
Other rallies in New York, Boston and Philadelphia have been designed to raise funds and also finalize details for the D.C. trip.
According to Fincham, ILIR is planning to have delegations not just from cities such as Boston or Chicago, but also Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and various states such as Florida, Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey.
As well as direct lobbying, ILIR is planning a rally for Upper Senate Park beside the Russell Senate Building. A hotel has also been booked in case of inclement weather.
Meanwhile, the ILIR lobbyists and their supporters will likely be joined by members of a cross-party delegation of visiting Irish legislators for the D.C. lobby day.
The delegation is expected to include representatives of at least Fianna F_il, Fine Gael, Sinn F