Category: Archive

News Briefs: Kenny backs all-island immigration push

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said in New York last week that an “Ireland delegation” was a good idea and he pledged to support it during a meeting with leaders of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.
Kenny was in New York for a single day, primarily to speak to the Ireland-U.S. Council. His travel plans were trimmed because of the emergency D_il debate on the Republic’s statutory rape laws.
The all-island delegation plan was first floated by the SDLP.
The party’s South Down MLA, P.J. Bradley, welcomed Kenny’s support.
“I welcome Enda Kenny’s endorsement of my earlier call that an Taoiseach should lead an all Ireland, all party leadership delegation to Washington to show solidarity with our exiles.
“The Fine Gael leader’s response is the first positive move. I hope that other party leaders will follow suit,” Bradley said.
A Fine Gael statement said that Kenny would ask Bertie Ahern to send the delegation to support the Irish Lobby Day planned by the ILIR for Washington on June 28.
“I believe that the ILIR lobby day should be supported by a delegation of public representatives of all parties both North and South who should engage in direct, focused lobbying of members of Congress to highlight the huge contribution of Irish immigrants to the American economy and society,” Kenny said.
The ILIR’s lobbying effort is expected to coincide with House/Senate negotiations aimed at reconciling starkly contrasting immigration bills.
One problem that has arisen with the Senate bill, S. 2611, is that critics argue it is unconstitutional because it proposes to levy back taxes from undocumented immigrants as they pursue earned legalization. Raising revenue is the purview of the House of Representatives.
Supporters of the bill counter that this argument is a technicality, that S. 2611 is not proposing new taxes, merely the levying of back taxes.

A short, sharp engagement on the floor of the House of Representatives last week resulted in the survival of U.S. aid to the International Fund for Ireland. An amendment, introduced by Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), proposed cutting the IFI money from the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2007.
But $10.8 million will be included for the IFI after Rep. Joe Crowley led a successful effort to turn back the move.
“I am proud that my colleagues in the House recognized the importance of continuing our commitment to the International Fund for Ireland and in the process continuing the involvement of the United States in the success of the delicate Irish peace process,” Crowley said.
Crowley was supported by New Jersey GOP representative, Chris Smith, and fellow Democrat, Brian Higgins, from upstate New York.

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