By Ray O’Hanlon
A bill aimed at extending immigration provision 245i is before Congress this week.
The bill, H.R.1242, drawn up by Rep. Peter King and co-sponsored by 24 members of the House of Representatives, has been placed before the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to be passed on for consideration by the House Immigration Subcommittee chaired by GOP Rep. George Gekas from Pennsylvania.
245i allows undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status while remaining in the U.S. The provision, which expired in 1998, was revived by the Clinton administration late last year but given only a limited reprieve. It is due to expire again on April 30.
"We want to see an extension of 245i as well as legalization for the growing number of undocumented Irish," said Anne Marie Scanlon, deputy executive director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens.
King’s bill, if passed, would keep 245i in force until Oct. 31 this year.
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Lingus route cuts?
Facing into a potential financial crisis arising from industrial troubles and a softening U.S. economy, Aer Lingus might have to cut some transAtlantic services in the coming months.
The Irish Independent reported Tuesday that the airline is looking at possibly trimming services out of Baltimore/Washington and Los Angeles.
The softening economy, the foot-and-mouth crisis, a slower rate of summer booking are all factors as are the airline’s industrial troubles and the need to replace older aircraft.
Gallagher takes charge
Dermot Gallagher, former Irish ambassador to the U.S., is the new secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
The former Leitrim county footballer served as ambassador to Washington during some of the most hectic days of the early Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s.
Gallagher will replace another former ambassador to Washington, Paddy MacKernan, who is expected to be appointed to a top-flight ambassadorial post in Europe.
Gallagher, who forged very close relations with the Clinton administration, has been heading the taoiseach’s department in recent times.
Gallagher’s move is likely only the first in a series of high-profile changes in the Irish diplomatic service in the coming months.
Governor presses Bush
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has urge President Bush to keep the Northern Ireland peace process high on his administration’s foreign policy agenda.
"Many Nevadans are of Irish descent. Peace and justice in Northern Ireland are of great concern to these citizens," Guinn wrote.
Pointing to the "remarkable progress" made in the peace process in recent years, Guinn, a Republican, said that these steps were only the beginning.
Garret for Chicago
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald is to speak at Northwestern University in Chicago later this month.
FitzGerald, who guided the Irish government into the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement, is to deliver the second annual T.W. Heyck Lecture in British and Irish History at the university’s Evanston campus on Wednesday, April 25. The lecture is free and open to the public.