A new era of openness toward the issue of immigration reform in the United States has generated fresh hope for thousands of illegal Irish immigrants to the country. The re-election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, added to the growing realization by the Republican Party that they can no longer ignore the problem of immigration, has seen the issue put firmly back into the spotlight.
Former US congressman Bruce Morrison, who has been a proponent of US immigration reform for many years, met with Eamon Gilmore, Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs last Tuesday, with Morrison having made note of the “new expressions of openness” on the behalf of leading Republicans and saying that there is now greater hope that the issue will be able to be dealt with in a more substantive manner.
Members of the Oireachtas were addressed by Mr Morrison in regards to immigration issues at a briefing that was organized by Senator Mark Daly, the Seanad spokesperson for the Irish diaspora.
Daly says that the priority as far as Irish lobbyists on Capitol Hill are concerned is the E3 visa, which would let around 10,500 Irish citizens work in the United States legally for up to two years. Morrison says that there is even the possibility that the bill might become law before the close of 2012. Many of the Irish immigrants to the US are undocumented, which means that they are unable to leave to come home to Ireland.