Taoiseach Enda Kenny says that it will take courage to achieve immigration reform in the United States and has praised the decisiveness of President Obama in his efforts to deal with the issue; meanwhile, the president made a point of singling out the major contribution to the US that has been made by immigrants from Ireland.
After the annual Oval Office meeting with Kenny on St Patrick’s Day, Obama commented that they both agreed that one of the United States’ greatest strengths has long been its willingness to embrace new immigrants to the country. “That is what has made us unique and special,” the president insists. “Nobody has contributed more to the growth and dynamism of the US economy than our Irish immigrants. That continues to be the case.”
Kenny told reporters that one of the topics under discussion had been US visa waivers that would enable undocumented Irish immigrants to freely go back and forth between the United States and Ireland. Kenny says he hopes that Washington’s political leaders will ultimately be able to come up with a solution to this problem and noted: “It can only be dealt with by having courage and leadership.”
Kenny added that the ability to travel back and forth was one of the most critical issues in the eyes of Irish immigrants. For his part, the president noted that there were “terrific opportunities” for the United States and Ireland to work together to create new jobs in both nations.