by Dan Dennehy, Chairman
Fifty years ago on October 3, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Immigration Law (aka Family Reunification Act), ending national origins quotas and starting the Age of Mass Immigration to the U.S. This immigration law was fought by NY Hibernians, notably Bronx County NY members, including Judge Collins. Hibernians warned Congress and Irish America that the law put an embargo on Irish Visas and could hurt the progress of the young nation. Today, many Irish people can only imagine the American Dream. Mass immigration, which brings with it cheap labor, hurting job opportunity for American youth, of that, none of us can deny.
For the past several years, a comprehensive reform bill that includes an allotment of visas for Irish and could resolve undocumented Irish issues, worked its way around Congress. Anne Anderson, Ambassador of Ireland and our Irish activists, were repeatedly assured, it was not ‘if Congress will pass reform , but when.’ Today, the outlook for much needed immigration reform is bleak and hopes for any change are remote.
Sure, the Irish can come here for 3 months on a holiday, and students can hop over for a short-stay J1 Visa, and some non-residents visas exist to work here. BUT, the risk of incarceration and deportation exists for overstay. The only real immigration visa hope for Irish is the DV lottery and only a tiny handful, perhaps one or two hundred a year out of 50,000 get in Irish hands.
So please contact your elected officials in Congress, and state that the Irish have been locked out of visas for 50 years! We need an annual allotment of immigration visas for Ireland. The Irish E3 is still our best option and Congress is familiar with it.
While Congress continues to battle itself, we are looking for ways to extend hope to the Irish who are here by broadening the U.S. Embassy waivers. The overwhelming majority of Irish undocumented are law-abiding, tax-paying, business owners & families with U.S. born children too young to sponsor the parents. Other countries, Mexico being the main recipient, have benefitted from the waiver program. We think the U.S. Embassy in Dublin can help. We continue to urge the U.S. State Department & our U.S. Ambassador to Ireland O’Malley to make this waiver work for the Irish.
Did you know that Irish people are still getting visas, adjusted status and U.S. citizenship despite being ignored by Congress & who is delivering this for them?
With Hibernian support for Irish Immigration Centers, tens of thousands have been helped! Now, those are numbers we like to hear! In the last few weeks, six Irish folks who were helped by the AOH were sworn in as U.S. citizens!
Many times, members send me contact information for Irish immigrants with questions about their status and inquiring about citizenship. These are often folks who have been living for years with questions on how to go forward on citizenship. We then put them in direct contact with the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and other centers, where councillors help them gather information and determine if they should apply to adjust their status. It was so good to hear back from the new and proud U.S. citizens! How proud they and their families are and they have asked me to thank our fellow Hibernians for helping them. Visit the website www.eiic.org or call the Emerald Isle Immigration Centers in Woodlawn or Woodside and introduce yourself as a Hibernian who wants to help!
We are committed to supporting the Irish Immigration Centers in NY & across the U.S. They are on the front lines supporting our immigrants of all ages. They provide peace of mind, confidential, up-to-date and trustworthy information to immigrants, at little or no cost. The Centers help the elderly with Meals on Wheels, Moms & Tots, Suicide Prevention, Employment and Vocation Training and of course immigration advice. When further help is required, good referrals are given to experienced, knowledgeable lawyers, mental health & welfare professionals, Irish consular staff, Catholic Charities and Clergy. Irish Immigration Centers help people navigate the City agencies and Government bureaucracies and applications in a meaningful and personal manner. You can find info about all the Irish Centers at www.ciic-usa.org
June 10, 2015 – Celtic Cruise
Looking for the most fun and inexpensive way to support the EIIC, join AOH Division 7 New York County on the Celtic Cruise! Embark the Celtic Cruise at Chelsea Piers with the best Irish entertainment anywhere, on three deluxe decks of food, fun and open bars! Watch the sunset at the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island and cruise majestically past NYC’s great Bridges and skyline on a night you will always remember! Visit http://www.celticcharity.com or call 212 717-9955 for more information.
Archbishop John Hughes, from County Tyrone, built NYC’s two Saint Patrick’s Cathedrals and our Noble Order was forged then to protect the Church and Irish Catholic immigrants. Myself, Tom Beirne and several NY County Hibernians are on the committee to honor his memory at the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral. This is the first time that I am aware of such a grand collaboration of the AOH with the Friendly Sons of St Patrick and Knights of Columbus. Recently our project received a $100,000 gift from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson! Learn more about our upcoming events & how you can help! Ask Tom Beirne or me or visit www.archbishophughes.com
100th Anniversary of the Death of legendary Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa — The Weekend of June 27, 28 & 29 will commemorate Corkman O’Donovan Rosaa who famously sailed into NY harbor an exile from Ireland to be welcomed by NY Mayor and U.S. President alike! He said of his first site of NY harbor “…if the ocean was baled out and the two countries, Ireland and America, were moved over to each other … There would be no incongruity, or break observable, in the grandeur of the scenery sailing down the River Lee through the Cove of Cork and up the Hudson River through the Harbor of New York”
On Saturday, June 27, at Gaelic Park, the AOH will cohost a GAA O’Donovan Rossa Tourney and Commemoration, your sponsorship and attendance is appreciated. The AOH will have an information tent at this event, stop by!
On Sunday June 28 at 1pm County Cork BP&P Association will host a Mass, Luncheon and Talk by NYS Historian Mike McCormack.
On Monday June 29 – Mary Hogan, LAOH National President and Staten Island Hibernians will host a Mass, Wreath-laying at Donovan Rossa’s Original Gravesite followed by a Talk and Luncheon.
If you would like to sponsor to this AOH sponsored event, you help would be much appreciated. Contact me for details or go to http://odonovanrossacentenary.com/programme-english/
On a personal note, I was honored to serve as an Aide to the Grand Marshal Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the 2015 NY St Patrick’s Day Parade along with many great Hibernians. My father served as an Aide in 1985 and it was a thrill to once again walk in his footsteps as a proud AOH member!
I’m also happy to announce the 7th Annual Hudson Valley Irish Fest on Saturday, September 26, at Peekskill Riverfront Green and hosted by AOH/LAOH Division 18 Peekskill www.hudsonvalleyirishfest.com
Yours in Our Motto of Friendship Unity and Christian Charity,