By Ray O’Hanlon
The president of the United States, current and future, is backing the return of 245i, the expired immigration provision that allows the undocumented to obtain legal residence while remaining in the U.S.
245i has been written into the Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill that will be debated anew in the lame-duck session of the 105th Congress that resumed this week.
While it is opposed by some leading Republicans, including the influential figure of Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, 245i has the backing of President Clinton.
It was also backed during the presidential campaign by both Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush.
Observers of the immigration debate in Washington believe that 245i still has a fighting chance of being restored to U.S. immigration law because it has actually been written into a bill, enjoys presidential support and would be a revenue raiser because applicants for a green card would be required to pay a fee in order to legalize their residency status while remaining and working in the U.S.
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Congress allowed 245i to expire from the immigration code in 1998.
Look down, it’s Ryanair
An Aer Lingus flight from Boston to Dublin had to abort its landing recently after the pilot spotted another aircraft on the runway.
EI132 was about 100 feet from touching down when the pilot saw the stationary plane.
The aircraft on the runway belonged to Ryanair, Aer Lingus’s main Irish rival out of Dublin on British and European routes.
The Ryanair plane had reportedly been unable to make contact with the control tower and, as a result, had not obtained clearance to take off.
Bernie Cahill, chairman of Aer Lingus, was on board the flight from Boston, according to an Irish Times report.
The Aer Lingus aircraft made a rapid "go-around" when it became evident that landing was out of the question. Nobody was injured during the aborted landing, which was described by an Aer Lingus spokesman as "purely procedural."
In a similar incident a couple of years ago, an Aer Lingus A330 Airbus was forced to abort a landing at Kennedy Airport in New York after the pilot spotted another aircraft on the runway.
Visa waiver permanent
President Clinton has made permanent a pilot program that allowed visitors to the United States from Ireland to travel without a U.S. visa.
The visa-waiver program’s permanence after a six-year trial period means that Irish business travelers and tourists can now spend up to 90 days in the U.S. without clearance from the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.
Short-term American visitors to Ireland enjoy the same visa-free rights.