Category: Archive

On the same page

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

What is clear is that the plight of the undocumented Irish will not be in any way helped, or made less by those who are most concerned over their future becoming engaged in a long distance shouting match.
Not too very long ago it seemed that all was well between the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and the Irish government, so much so that Dublin was handing over checks to help fund ILIR’s effort in the broader campaign to secure meaningful immigration reform on Capitol Hill.
That effort became well and truly stalled last summer and the talk moved towards something else, the idea of a possible bilateral visa deal between the United States and Ireland that would facilitate freer movement of each country’s respective citizens in the years ahead.
Comprehensive reform and the bilateral treaty idea are entirely separate and distinct. One’s an apple, the other an orange. But somehow they have become enmeshed and muddled to the point that Dublin and the ILIR are at odds over exactly what has been said, promised and supposedly pursued.
With reform in Washington on hold it’s hardly surprising that ILIR began taking a deeper interest in a bilateral idea that various Irish politicians seemed to believe was acceptable and possible.
If the Irish government were to pursue one, however, it would likely do so without any overt input from ILIR, or any other reform-minded Irish American group.
The fact that Dublin does not seem to be pursuing a bilateral has, however, prompted an input, a critical one, and this has spurred caustic comment in return, not least from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern during his St. Patrick’s Day visit to Washington.
Where this all takes the undocumented Irish and their cause is easy enough to see: precisely nowhere.
At this juncture it would be a welcome development indeed if the parties to this spat take a step back and at least reinitiate a civil and workable discourse.
This could be facilitated by a meeting, something that has already been publicly requested by ILIR.
Where the meeting takes place is of no particular consequence but it is important now that all who want life for the undocumented to take a better turn at least get back on the same page – this if for no other reason than immigration reform hasn’t vanished entirely from sight.
The issue will make a return to Capitol Hill, perhaps not this year but quite possibly in 2009, now just months away.
One who could well act on behalf of ILIR in any talks is Bruce Morrison. The former congressman already acts for the ILIR in its dealings with politicians in Washington. He is immensely experienced and commands unquestionable respect on all political sides in Ireland.
But regardless of who makes the journey, that journey should be made and the necessary fence mending talks take place, sooner rather than later.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese