Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., presses US political leaders for solution to situation facing undocumented Irish - announces $50,000 for Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform
On a visit to Washington and New York this week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, urged US political leaders to resolve the situation facing the undocumented Irish and to put in place new arrangements to facilitate legal migration between Ireland and the US.
In a series of meetings with senior US politicians in Washington on 24 September, the Minister pushed for the issue to be treated as a priority following November’s Presidential and Congressional elections.
Speaking following his meetings on Capitol Hill, the Minister described his discussions as very productive- “In my meetings I made clear that we are pursuing a three pronged approach involving a solution for our undocumented; new bilateral arrangements to provide reciprocal long term working visas (known as E3s) and the Working Holiday Agreement. I was encouraged by the response of those with whom I met and am hopeful that good progress can be made following November’s elections”.
Those he met on Capitol Hill included Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee), the House of Representatives Friends of Ireland Group, Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Zoe Lofgren (Chair of the House sub-Committee on Immigration).
In New York, the Minister also met the Irish Lobby for Immigration and announced the allocation of a further $50,000 to the organisation, bringing total Government funding to ILIR since 2006 to over $235,000.
Speaking following the meeting, the Minister said:
“I am determined to continue the Government’s strong commitment to finding a solution for this marginalised group of Irish citizens. The allocation of further significant funding is a clear demonstration of this commitment”.
Paying tribute to ILIR and its members, Minister Martin said “ILIR have helped to mobilise Irish communities across the US and have made a lasting positive impression on some of the most powerful political figures in Washington. I look forward to working closely with them in the period ahead to deliver a solution”.
27 September 2008