Minister Ahern warmly welcomes Immigration Bill
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., this evening warmly welcomed the passage through the US Senate of an immigration reform bill.
“I am very pleased that Senators have passed a comprehensive bill on immigration reform. Crucially, this bill contains provisions that would enable the vast majority of our undocumented citizens in the U.S. to regularise their status, including a path to permanent residency.”
The Minister, who returned last evening from conveying the Government's position in Washington, also said:
“In view of the particular focus on immigration in the Senate this week, I decided to travel to Washington to emphasise to key legislators the importance which the Government attaches to the welfare of our undocumented community. I also availed of the opportunity to meet again with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, who are doing such vital work on the ground, and whom the Government has been very happy to support financially.
I warmly commend the Senate leadership for securing agreement on this positive bill. I would also like to express again my particular thanks to Senator Kennedy and Senator McCain for their deep commitment to immigration reform.”
Looking ahead to the next stage (the reconciliation of the respective Senate and House of Representatives bills, which are very far apart), the Minister said:
“I appreciate that the legislative process still has a considerable way to go. However, today marks a hugely significant advance. We must all now intensify our efforts in the period leading up to the crucial Reconciliation Conference between the Senate and the House of Representatives on their respective bills.”
25 May 2006