Category: Archive

Newsbriefs: T-shirts talk at D.C. immigration hearings

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The ILIR lobbyists are not lined up to speak at the House of Representatives gatherings but, according to ILIR executive director Kelly Fincham, they are speaking volumes by being present in t-shirts calling for the legalization of the Irish.
“We seem to be the only group turning up for these hearings and they are still allowing us in with our t-shirts on,” Fincham told the Echo.
The shirts proclaim a simple message with the slogan “Legalize the Irish.org.”
This week’s hearings have been called by Republican critics of the Senate’s bipartisan reform bill.
“Led by GOP committee chairs … four committees will hold a series of hearings to examine troubling provisions in the Reid-Kennedy bill that undermine our border security efforts and do little to address the concerns of the American people,” House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner, said in a statement.
“These hearings reflect the commitment of House Republicans to enact strong border security reforms that stop the flow of illegal immigration along our borders and put a premium on enforcing our laws,” the Ohio Republican said.
Two of the hearings have been convened by the House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep. Peter King, co-author of the House bill that focuses entirely on border security and does not provide a path to so-called “earned legalization” for undocumented and illegal immigrants.
The title of today’s Homeland Security Committee hearing is “How does the Reid-Kennedy bill compare to the House Border Security bill when it comes to enhancing border infrastructure?”
Thursday’s hearing is entitled: “Does the Reid-Kennedy bill make it more difficult for law enforcement to expedite the removal of illegal aliens from the United States?”
Other hearings into the “Reid-Kennedy” bill are being held by the House Education and the Workforce Committee, the Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Sensenbrenner, and the House International Relations Committee.
ILIR’s Fincham said that the group would aim to send representatives to all the hearings.

The memorial to 28 Irish-born U.S. soldiers who died in the Korean War will be unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday, October 14.
The memorial will be located at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, not far from the grave Matilda Tone, widow of 1798 Rebellion leader Wolfe Tone.
The cemetery is already the location for an annual commemoration ceremony organized by the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee.
The ceremony honors Tone and the “Maryland 400” whose rear-guard action ensured that General George Washington and his soldiers were able to evacuate to Manhattan during the Battle Brooklyn in 1776.
The effort to permanently memorialize the 28 Korean War soldiers gathered momentum after they were posthumously made U.S. citizens at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in October, 2003.
A recent fundraiser in Yonkers raised in excess of $4,000 for a project that is expected to end up costing close to $20,000. The Irish government is expected to make a contribution to the fundraising effort.
The memorial, the centerpiece of which will be a green granite stone atop a gray granite base, will include a dedication and the names and native counties of the 28 men.

The next hearing date in the case of an alleged Irish immigrant smuggling ring centered in Buffalo, NY, is set for Monday, July 31.
A status conference previously set for June 20 was postponed at the request of the defense, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen Wylegala told the Echo.
Nine people are named on the arraignment. Seven have been detained or have so far appeared in court to plead not guilty.
The nine face potential prison terms of five years and two years depending on specific charges.
However, defense attorneys believe that the cases can be resolved without prison terms for those charged with assisting three undocumented Irish immigrants who, according to the arraignment, entered the U.S. across the Canadian border.
This view rests heavily on the fact that the accused who provided aid to the three did not do so for monetary gain. The three Irish nationals who crossed the border face deportation, however.

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