What’s especially interesting – and leaving aside her most unfortunate “lipstick on the pig” metaphor – are the additional questions raised by the op-ed itself, not to mention the timing of its appearance.
The actual views and issues raised by Ms. Vargo, and the debate she has stirred up, relate to an issue that, in an Irish context at least, seemed to be favored with a fair degree of consensus up until now.
But reading not so much between the lines as behind them, there is a new question begging to be asked.
We’ve certainly heard a fair bit from those who don’t agree with Vargo.
This page itself takes issue with much of the content of an op-ed written by an influential figure who has featured prominently in this paper over the years and who, indeed, recently contributed an interesting and informative op-ed on Belfast peace walls.
But the question of the minute is less who disagrees, but who precisely does agree with Ms. Vargo’s stated positions?
And who, if anyone, provided the spur for an opinion piece that called into question the very moral underpinning of the battle for Irish visas and also brought into view something that we have been unaware of up until now: the idea of a “special deal” for the Irish?
This is the first time that this page had read anything about a special deal; a possible bilateral visa deal has been discussed but there is nothing special about that inasmuch as such arrangements have been reached between the U.S. and other countries and could, in theory, be reached with some or many more.
The bilateral idea has been floating around for a while and is a matter that falls less within the controlling orbit of Irish America as it does between the governments in Washington and Dublin.
Crucially, if such a deal was to be modeled on the existing arrangement between the U.S. and Australia, the bilateral most often mentioned in recent debate, the positive effect for the undocumented Irish would be negligible because they would be excluded from qualification.
Vargo does touch on the delicate issue of relations between the Irish and other ethnic groups in the campaign for immigration reform and this is a dynamic that does indeed require close attention.
At the same time, she states that while fully supportive of legalizing the Irish she would not want to see such a scenario “at the expense of anyone else.”
Again, this page is unaware of any campaign seeking to advance the cause of visas for the Irish at anyone else’s expense.
Vargo’s treatise falls short in the very important sense that it lacks specifics at critical junctures. Her op-ed suggests, hints and alleges, but where needed it lacks the supporting evidence to back up its criticisms.
But again, it also raises more questions. Who agrees with her views and why?
So far we can only speculate, but it will be interesting to see if others rush openly to Vargo’s side as the newly invigorated immigration debate – thanks to Vargo herself – reaches for the next level.