By Dan Dennehy – National Chairman
Where there’s life, there’s hope! Truly words to live by, especially if you are a supporter of the Irish E3 Visa program. The considered opinion of Irish immigrations advocates and representatives in both US and Irish governments, and yours truly, is that we can still achieve the Visa in this Congress. Our work towards attaining this visa has been extensive and I thank all of you who have pitched in and put your backs into this effort. Be one of the many Hibernians who have made the call and say to the legislators that are helping us, let them know “We will never forget!” If they tell you that they can’t, or worse, won’t help, let them know, “We will never forget!” We might have to change tack politically, but the ask to your legislators is the same, tell them, again and again, “We need you to support the Irish E3 Visa now! We need you to urge your colleagues to support the Irish E3 Visa as well!”
The Irish E3 Visa program would greatly increase the amount of renewable visas to the United States from Ireland by 10,500. The Irish E3 would create a much needed avenue for young Irish people to seek employment, gain experience, and enrich our cultural exchange with the Irish. The prospect of educated, energetic Irish visa holders helping Irish Americans like yourselves to increase and expand our communities and invigorate the Irish American culture across the nation is far too important to write off. It is important that like many generations before, but not recently due to lack of visas, these people would return to Ireland with their “Made In The USA” experiences and help economic growth and goodwill towards America at home; Or they would have the right to stay in the US and help invigorate our own economy, organizations and communities.
Ireland’s jobless rates remain among the highest in Europe, yet the Irish are credited by economic with their efforts to address the situation. The highest levels of Irish diplomatic and political leadership have asked the highest levels of US leadership to support the Irish E3 Visa. Our National and State AOH leadership request that you do what you can to get this one OVER THE BAR!
Thanks again to NYS Treasurer Tim McSweeney for his aid with those unfortunately tangled in the web that our Irish undocumented and legal immigrants face. Tim’s work for detained Irish nationals extends across the ocean and has made a positive impact in many ways. I continue to work with Sean Pender on helping Relatives for Justice Families Inc and other families, attorneys, legislators and activists to the US for hearings and meetings as we did this past St. Patrick’s week. My work on immigration reform and other immigration issues has brought me to the Irish Embassy and the US State Department in Washington to address the issues of Irish E3 VisaThar Saile, detainees, and many other issues. I am happy to report that we have made tremendous strides in our work with Thar Saile and detainees and former prisoners. This year, Matt Morrison was able to visit his home in Derry for the first time in many years. I hope that at the National Convention more good news will arrive. Please sign up for Immigration of you are planning to attend the convention!
During his address at several occasions in New York Irish President Michael D. Higgins singled out the AOH for its aid to the Irish immigrants over our history and more specifically our work on securing legal paths for Irish immigrants today. He also praised our support for the Irish Immigration Centers at his visit to the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Woodlawn.
I urge you to reach out to the Irish Immigration centers across the U.S. and volunteer either funding or sweat equity to the vital services they provide to Irish elderly and young immigrants alike. The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers site has information on all the centers and their programs www.ciic-usa.org I have worked with all of these centers over the years and they really deserve our help. I have visited the three centers in NY over the past few months and marvel at the great work they do and how they offer so many great services. New York County Division 4 met at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City. Westchester Division 1 Yonkers continues to support the Aisling Irish Center. In turn, the Aisling Center helped to fete the 100th Birthday of Bronx Division 5 member, Joe Cunningham during a visit of Irish President Michael D. Higgins. Joe and Kitty Geissler, LAOH Tarrytown, were also honored by NYS Director Brian Kelly at the AOH/LAOH Westchester County Board Dance at the Hibernian Hall at the Hudson Valley Irish Center.
As your immigration chair, it gives me great pleasure to announce the greatest single effort to aid an Irish immigration center by Hibernians:
The Celtic Cruise aboard the Spirit of New York run by AOH NY County Division 7 to benefit the Emerald Isle Immigration Center on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 6pm. This promises to be the event of the year with music, dancing, great food and fun. Music on all decks provided by Celtic Cross, the Cunningham Brothers, Shay Mac Band, Chris Kelly Band and more! For more info and tickets contact www.celticcharity.com or call (212) 717-9955.
Below is a partial list of Senators that need to help with the Irish E3 Visa. You may notice that the listed are GOP senators. That is because the entire Democratic and Independent delegation have committed to the Irish E3 according to Senate leadership. What we need is GOP support for this bipartisan effort.
Arizona: John McCain – (202) 224-2235 and John Kyl (202)224-4521,
Alaska: Lisa Murkowski (202)224-6665,
Florida: Marco Rubio (202) 224-3041,
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541,
Louisiana: David Vitter (202) 224-4623,
Maine: Olympia Snowe (202)224-5344
New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte (202) 224-3324
OH: Rob Portman (202)224-3353
South Carolina: Lindsey Graham – (202) 224-5972, Jim DeMint (843) 727-4525
Texas: John Cornyn 202-224-2934, Kay Bailey Hutchison (512)916-5834
TN: Lamar Alexander (202)224-4944,
Utah: Mike Lee (202) 224-5444
WI: Ron Johnson (202)224-5323