Immigration

by Dan Dennehy, Chairman

 

Brothers,

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,
Dan Dennehy

 

At the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral were, from left, James Hamilton (AOH NY County Board), Carmine Musumeci (New York State Deputy KofC), Dan Dennehy (National AOH Chairman Immigration), William C. Duggan (Chairman of Archbishop Hughes Commemorative Committee & AOH Div. 9 NY County), Carl Anderson (Supreme Knight - Knights of Columbus, Tom Beirne (AOH NY County Board President) and Art Harris (Supreme Director Knights of Columbus).

At the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral were, from left, James Hamilton (AOH NY County Board), Carmine Musumeci (New York State Deputy KofC), Dan Dennehy (National AOH Chairman Immigration), William C. Duggan (Chairman of Archbishop Hughes Commemorative Committee & AOH Div. 9 NY County), Carl Anderson (Supreme Knight – Knights of Columbus, Tom Beirne (AOH NY County Board President) and Art Harris (Supreme Director Knights of Columbus).

On NYC’s Fifth Avenue before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade were the Aides and the 2015 Grand Marshal, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

On NYC’s Fifth Avenue before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade were the Aides and the 2015 Grand Marshal, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Cardinal Dolan with New York County AOH President Tom Beirne’s son, Sean.

Cardinal Dolan with New York County AOH President Tom Beirne’s son, Sean.

Executive Orders on Deferred Action

On Nov. 20, President Barack Obama announced Executive Orders on Deferred Action for some immigrants. This serves as tremendous relief from threat of deportation for Irish families with U.S. born children. Irish work-visa holders, as well as their spouses, now have eased ability to apply for permanent-resident visas and move between jobs in the U.S., which was very difficult in the past. The executive order doesn’t affect the undocumented status of those who arrived here after January 1, 2010, parents of DACA eligible children, or single Irish immigrants without U.S. born children.

Those who qualify, and only after background checks and successful completion of the application process, may be eligible by the end of 2015 to finally travel home to Ireland in a system known as Advanced Parole to adjust status or apply for visas they previously have not qualified for. The same timeline applies for humanitarian issues like emergency visits home for life / medical events. These parole-travel opportunities will not happen in the immediate future, and we are working now to clarify the details with U.S. agencies.

There will be many Irish who desire to travel home right away but that is not possible. Unscrupulous operators will try to take advantage of immigrants by offering false, expensive or deceptive processing fees that may lead to nowhere.

I ask every Hibernian to direct inquiries from Irish immigrants who may qualify to your AOH Immigration Chairman so that we may work with the Irish Immigration Centers and Irish Consulate to get real answers and help for Irish Immigrants. It is through those agencies that trusted, reliable advice and legal referrals can be found. A list of these trusted Irish Centers is found at:

ciic-usa.org/find-your-local-irish-center/

Clearly, this is a stepping stone and we strongly feel we can move the remaining issues. Many indicators were that Congress might not have acted otherwise on immigration reform until as late as 2017. This action by the president doesn’t nearly take care of the long struggle of the Irish undocumented or for the men of Thar Saile, increase future flow of legal immigration for the Irish or put an end to injustices to the Irish caused by the 1967 Immigration Act.

We continue to work with tireless activists and lobbyists like Billy Lawless of the Chicago Celts and Bruce Morrison, the ILIR, Irish immigration centers, U.S. legislators and the Irish Embassy and Consulates to finish the deal. We need the Congress to act on immigration soon.

I ask every Hibernian to implore Congress to finish the job, give the Irish our visas back, and end 50 years of injustice to the Irish.

 

Yours in Our Motto of Friendship Unity and Christian Charity,

Dan Dennehy
National Immigration Chairman

Immigration

I received a letter from a Division Officer who was inquiring about the requirements of appointing a Division Immigration Officer. Rather than my usual report allow me to share my response to his question.

Dear Brother,

A common misconception is that one has to be well versed on a Chair before taking it. No matter what chair it is, it is the responsibility of new Chairs to study the Blue Book and our National Constitution and learn the purpose and responsibility of the Chair. Therefore, I am indeed grateful for your  inquiry. The Constitution details my duties as National Chairman and therein you can see the responsibilities of the State, County and Division Chairs.

 

CHAIRMAN, IMMIGRATION COMMITTEE: Section 24. Shall:

 

  1. Be the Convention Immigration Chairman and appoint six or more members (with the approval of the National President) to serve in the interim between conventions.
  2. Support and inform the membership on all legislative action for Improved Immigration between the U.S. and Ireland. Promote such actions in the U.S. and Ireland.
  3. Prepare and submit an article on the current immigration issues with Ireland and submit to the Editor of the National Hibernian Digest for publication in each issue.
  4. Report to the National Convention and National Board Meetings.

 

In a nutshell:
It is their responsibility of our Immigration chairs:

 

To familiarize themselves with the conditions and issues surrounding immigration from an Irish American perspective.

To maintain communication with the National Chair for queries, data and information.

 

To communicate actions on immigration that the Division, our communities and our elected legislators can participate in that would benefit Irish immigrants and the US.

 

To assist Irish immigrants wherever possible,

 

To assist the local Irish immigration centers whenever possible,

 

To work with other groups and legislators, whether Irish or US, to achieve these aims.

 

Some of the issues we support our members, Irish American and Irish immigrants are visa questions, dual citizenship, US Citizenship and directing those in need to legitimate social, employment, legal and health assistance.

 

Please share my contact information with your newly appointed chair.

I can always be reached by email or a (914)588-2710

 

Regards,
Dan Dennehy

 

 

 

I am honored and grateful to be appointed by President Brendan Moore to continue to serve the National Board as your Immigration Chairman. I thank the many Hibernians that have become immigration chairs for their Divisions, and I ask more of you to become your Division County and State Chairs. I need your help to get this job done and the Irish immigration Centers value the AOH’s support.

I hope in the closing days of 2014, that we will see the needed changes in US Immigration Law that will allow the undocumented Irish and Irish men and women who desire to travel, work and stay in the US safely and legally.

Myself and my wife Siobhan, Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center met twice with newly appointed Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan along with Ambassador Ann Anderson and new NY Consul General Barbara Jones to discuss immigrant support, the plight of undocumented families, and also in my case our Irish Immigration lobbying efforts. They left with a clear idea of the support that the AOH gives both efforts and were truly grateful and inspired to give the President and Congress an urgent message; Do not retire this Congress without substantial action on immigration reform.

Myself and our coalition partners on Irish Immigration, Chicago Celts, ILIR and Irish Apostolate traveled to the White House in August to entreat the Administration to be rational about the Executive Order and include the provisions in the Senate Bills language on the E3 Visa in any such order. I am grateful former US Rep. Bruce Morrison, author of the successful legislation that bore his name in 1990, was able to join us and open some eyes with his opinion, which we share. He stated that reform should be about enforcement and not entitlement. People must live up to the standards we all apply ourselves to in order to stay in the US. The Irish have abided by the laws, paid their taxes and are a model for what this country should expect from those that desire.

We also discussed added 12 months more to the 12 Month J1 program as it is hard to find work and housing in that short time frame. This will take tremendous pressure off our Irish Immigration Centers, because when the reform does come, the demands on the Centers will multiply. To find out more about you nearest Irish Immigration Center visit www.ciic-usa.org

So please call and write your Senators, Representatives and the White House and tell them to act on immigration now before they “retire.” The Capitol Switchboard number is (202)224-3121 and you will be directed to any of your elected Officials. Please join the growing ranks of leading Hibernians across the US who have become Immigration Chairs!

Dan Dennehy

A visit to St. Patrick’s Well

A visit to St. Patrick’s Well

While on vacation in Italy in September, your Digest editor John O’Connell happened upon an unexpected attraction in Orvieto, a Medieval hill town some 60 miles north of Rome. Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick’s Well) was built between 1527 and 1537. Pope Clement VII at the time thought the city needed a greater water supply. The well was finished in the papacy or Pius III. According to Wikipedia, the name was inspired by Medieval legends that Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Purgatory gave access all the way down to Purgatory, so it became associated with something fantastically deep. The cylindrical well goes 174 ft. down and the well shaft is surrounded with two spiral ramps in a double helix.

 

Patricks Well

Immigration

Brothers,

I am honored and grateful to be appointed by President Brendan Moore to continue to serve the National Board as your Immigration Chairman. I thank the many Hibernians that have become immigration chairs for their Divisions, and I ask more of you to become your Division County and State Chairs. I need your help to get this job done and the Irish immigration Centers value the AOH’s support.

I hope in the closing days of 2014, that we will see the needed changes in US Immigration Law that will allow the undocumented Irish and Irish men and women who desire to travel, work and stay in the US safely and legally.

Myself and my wife Siobhan, Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center met twice with newly appointed Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan along with Ambassador Ann Anderson and new NY Consul General Barbara Jones to discuss immigrant support, the plight of undocumented families, and also in my case our Irish Immigration lobbying efforts. They left with a clear idea of the support that the AOH gives both efforts and were truly grateful and inspired to give the President and Congress an urgent message; Do not retire this Congress without substantial action on immigration reform.

Myself and our coalition partners on Irish Immigration, Chicago Celts, ILIR and Irish Apostolate traveled to the White House in August to entreat the Administration to be rational about the Executive Order and include the provisions in the Senate Bills language on the E3 Visa in any such order. I am grateful former US Rep. Bruce Morrison, author of the successful legislation that bore his name in 1990, was able to join us and open some eyes with his opinion, which we share. He stated that reform should be about enforcement and not entitlement. People must live up to the standards we all apply ourselves to in order to stay in the US. The Irish have abided by the laws, paid their taxes and are a model for what this country should expect from those that desire.

We also discussed added 12 months more to the 12 Month J1 program as it is hard to find work and housing in that short time frame. This will take tremendous pressure off our Irish Immigration Centers, because when the reform does come, the demands on the Centers will multiply. To find out more about you nearest Irish Immigration Center visit www.ciic-usa.org

So please call and write your Senators, Representatives and the White House and tell them to act on immigration now before they “retire.” The Capitol Switchboard number is (202)224-3121 and you will be directed to any of your elected Officials. Please join the growing ranks of leading Hibernians across the US who have become Immigration Chairs!

Dan Dennehy

 

Immigration 1BImmigration 1A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The larger group was meeting with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Irish Immigrant Support group at NY Consulate.

The earlier phot was taken at White House and is myself, Billy Lawless (Chicago Celts), Bruce Morrison, Celine Kennealy (ILIR) Fr. Brendan McBride and Geri Garvey (Irish Apostolate)

Immigration – Dan Dennehy

By Dan Dennehy, Chairman

 

AOH US Representative LETTERYour help on Comprehensive Immigration Reform is still needed. Sincere thanks to the many Hibernian Brothers and Sisters who have already made calls to their Congressional Representatives on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. If you have yet to make the call, here are the simple, yet important, steps:

 

1) Please call your member of the House of Representatives today. The number for the Congressional Switchboard is (202) 224-3121.

2) Give your zip code when requested and ask to speak to your Congressman’s Office.

3) When directed to that Office, ask to speak to the Legislation Officer or Immigration Liaison for your Representative. If they are available, let them know that (a) You support Comprehensive Immigration Reform as a voter, who is Catholic, Irish American, and a Hibernian; (b) and “If Irish America feels that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is good for Irish America, it is good for the rest of Americans too!”

4) If they aren’t available, ask to leave a message stating: “I would like to hear from my Representative, your Chief of Staff or the Representative’s Immigration person as soon as possible.”

5) If your Representative indicates to you their support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, THANK THEM! If your Representative indicates opposition, ask them to reconsider that position and thank them for their time.

6) In conjunction with your call, please send a copy of the letter elsewhere on this page in the Digest from our National President to the Representative, along with your own message as a constituent.

This issue remains crucial and requires action of every Hibernian. Since 1965, Irish people have struggled to come to the US. Nearly 50,000 Irish people, many with American-born families, have been unable to share great moments of joy, weddings, births and graduations, or great sadness, like illness or the burial of a loved one, with their families in Ireland. Most of us know our Irish undocumented. They live in and are active members of our communities. They pay their taxes, support our Catholic Churches and schools and work hard in their adopted land. We may never get a better opportunity to correct the lack of legal paths to immigration for Irish people than we have now. If we are not part of the equation, we may have to wait another 20 years for a voice in the immigration reform process. I will be happy to provide you with any supporting information that you require.

I have spent the summer speaking to Hibernians and working with our Irish Coalition partners, the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, the Embassy of Ireland and Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, along with members of our Irish Catholic Clergy and lobbyists Manus Cooney and Bruce Morrison to reach as many Congressmen as possible. Thanks to Geri Garvey from the Irish Apostolate USA www.usairish.org for her generosity in sharing ways that we can improve outreach on this issue and both Catholics and Irish Americans.

Please continue to support the affiliated Irish Immigration Centers of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers www.ciic-usa.org by making a personal or Division donation, volunteering at your local Center or by attending their fundraisers. The work that they do for our Irish Seniors, young families and Irish immigrants is much needed. When Comprehensive Immigration Reform finally passes Congress, the Irish Immigration Centers will be on the front lines of guiding future Irish Americans.

 

Upcoming Fundraisers:

 

October 4- Aisling Irish Community Center – 10th Annual Dinner Dance at Lake Isle Country Club honoring Brigid Flynn of Flynn Irish Dance School www.aislingcenter.org

 

October 25 – The 25th Anniversary Emerald Isle Immigration Center Dinner Dance will honor Senator Charles ‘Chuck’ Schumer for his lifelong support in championing U.S. Irish Immigration at the Astoria World Manor in Astoria, Queens. www.eiic.org

Immigration

Over the past few years, many hours of conference calls, meetings, and email and phone communications have been employed by the AOH towards our current effort for immigration reform. We’ve listened and considered the often valid and thought provoking, and as often polarizing and scathing critiques and opposition of the current Immigration Bill from Hibernians and others. Let me be clear, the current Congressional Immigration legislation is not perfect, no Bill is. It is not our responsibility to draft federal legislation. Our responsibility is to our Irish immigrants, whether undocumented or our future Irish immigrants, to assure safe and legal paths. Were we to stand idly by while other interest groups succeed in passing legislation; Based on past practice, we would not get another chance for AT LEAST 20 YEARS! Therefore, this organization and its members cannot and will not sit on the sidelines on CIR. Should it fail; we will dust ourselves off and get back on the horse. Tenacity is one of our greatest attributes as Hibernians and we will continue until we succeed.

On a July 11th visit to Washington DC, I met with 12 members of the House, particularly GOP representatives, to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  I can report that these visits were well received by all and the legislators and staff shared their issues with the current Senate Bill, S. 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.  That evening at the Embassy of Ireland, along with representatives of ILIR and Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, I met Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Eamon Gilmore, Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and Foreign Affairs Director General Niall Burgess to compare our observations on the current Irish American efforts and the viability of CIR. It was acknowledged that the AOH is uniquely positioned as the only organization with members in many of the Congressional Districts needed to pass this legislation. We left that meeting confident that we are closer today than we have been in nearly 50 years to real reform that includes Homeland Security and border improvements, an end to the plight of the Irish undocumented and a real quota of new legal visas for Irish immigrants. The hard work has just begun. The AOH is once again leading the way on immigration reform and we have a lot to do.

Hibernians, particularly those in GOP led Districts, are encouraged to let your US Representative know that as an Irish American and a Hibernian that you feel Comprehensive Immigration Reform is good for the Nation and you would like the Representative to support it as well. During the summer recess, your Congressman will attend many events in your District. If you have an opportunity, please speak to the legislator. Consider making an appointment to visit the legislator’s district office. If not, please get on the phone; write an email or letter to your Congressional House Representative. If the Representative is not available ask for the legislative or immigration aide. Also, we need to keep a running tab on legislators that are onboard and those that might need a gentle nudge towards support. Please contact me with results of your efforts good bad or indifferent. Communication within our organization is a key to our success and you can play a major role in improving those lines of communication.

(Included in this Digest is a letter from National President Brendan Moore. Please email me at dandennehy@hotmail.com  and I will send you a personalized digital copy of that letter for your Congressman that you may send along with your own letter or message to the representative.)

 

Here are some of the benefits to Irish America included in the passed Senate Bill, S. 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act:

Path to Citizenship for Undocumented: The bill puts 50,000 Irish undocumented on a 13 year long path to citizenship accompanied by a system of fines, taxes and criminal background checks. The PRI’s, as the undocumented will then be known, will be required to become ‘vested’ in Social Security, PAY FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE AND OTHER BENEFITS for a nearly decade-long  period. Only after 9 years of gainful employment and tax payment, the PRI’s are Green card eligible and only then may they avail of the benefits available to every US legal naturalized resident. Providing that certain security measures are satisfied, 180 days after the legislation is signed, the PRI’s will be allowed to live, work, and travel home to Ireland freely throughout the period of adjustment. This would bring great relief to their family members back in Ireland, many who haven’t seen loved ones in decades.

Future Flow: the Schumer Visa (AKA Irish E3 Visa) is 10,500 annual and renewable 3 year visas for Irish citizens, and their families, to live and work in the US. This will create much needed future flow for Ireland AND IS THE LARGEST ALLOTMENT OF VISAS FOR THE IRISH SINCE 1965. The Schumer Visas name was selected by the Senators colleagues as a tribute to his championing Irish Visa issues, especially during the critical Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Provisions in legislation would lead to an oath to green cards for these workers.

Work, Education and Language Requirements: There are many changes and new avenues in Comprehensive Immigration Reform that can provide for a greater number of Irish people, North and South, to apply for visas due to the English language, education and other requirements included. Irish students educated at our Universities would be given a long sought after opportunity; to stay in the US upon completing their education, instead of being forced to go home, as is the current practice.

In closing, as part of my responsibilities as Immigration Chair, I often field 10 to 15 calls and emails a week from AOH members with a variety of immigration issues (N. Ireland related, deportations, incarcerations, marriage related, adjustments of status, lawyer referrals, criminal issues, migration/ emigration/ holiday travel, J1 Visas, etc.) This work cannot be done without the support of members across the Order and the network of Irish immigrant advocates, lobbyists and attorneys that we have developed over the years. We also rely on the Irish Consulates and Irish Immigration Centers and they on the AOH. In Superstorm Sandy’s recovery we all came together for a common cause. Now we are asked to come together to, once and for all, address the need for Comprehensive Immigration reform. Please continue to support our Irish Immigration Centers; we will need them when our work on the Bill is done. I wish you and your loved ones, a safe and healthy summer.

Respectfully submitted,

Dan Dennehy

Immigration – Dan Dennehy

In years gone by, Irish farming communities would gather together to work from farm to farm in order to accomplish results that no farmer could achieve on his own. They called that gang of workers a Meitheal. In Superstorm Sandy’s devastating wake, Hibernians have sprung to action.

Day one, Hibernians used social media to check on each other and wherever they found need, they acted immediately. As images of devastation on television, newspapers and facebook appeared, Hibernians from across the country began to provide aid came to the area in monetary, material and manpower form. Past National President Seamus Boyle, NYS Treasurer Tim McSweeney, NY County President Tom Beirne and Brother Jim Lawracy from South Carolina come to mind among those who brought immediate aid by the truckload to our Brothers and Sisters on the shore. Each week , Hibernians from NY, NJ and CT and elsewhere continue to make the trip and meet fellow Hibernians to restore the shore. As a member of the National Disaster Relief Committee I can share with you that your donations to the National AOH Storm Relief Fund are strengthening the bonds of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity and directly aiding our distressed members.

President Brendan Moore and I attended a swiftly arranged meeting of Irish organizations held at the Irish Consulate in New York. Many Hibernians, like AJ Smith, were in attendance, representing a wide array of organizations like The GAA, Irish County Associations, coastal community groups, Immigration centers, business and trade organizations, media and networking groups. It was decided, in the words of irish America magazine’s Turlough McConnell, a Meitheal or Irish Day of Action at the coastline would be organized and I was asked to be AOH liaison. Working with Siobhan Dennehy, president of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, Owen Rodgers of the Emerald Guild, Brian McCabe, NYPD Det.(ret) & Orange Co AOH and Peter Ryan the Deputy Consul General, we were able to locate organizations that were our collected organizing relief efforts would be best applied.

What followed were two tremendously successful days of relief and recovery at the shoreline at which hundreds of participated in places like Breezy Point, Rockaway and Gerritsen Beach. The first trip,  a Thanksgiving Meitheal, brought AOH members and hundreds of Irish immigrants and Irish Americans on buses from Manhattan, Queens, Rockland, Yonkers and Peekskill to the Rockaways. To the gratitude of a stricken community, houses, community centers and, in our case, a small Protestant church saw the sweat equity and elbow grease employed by Hibernians men, women and their children. That night, the first of the Sandy Sessions, a musicians fundraiser for relief administered by Siobhan and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, saw 900 attend and raised $25,000.

The second trip was a Christmas Meitheal.  The Irish immigration centers gathered toys and gifts and distributed them to school-aged children and the AOH led the work crews in the Rockaway’s and Hamilton and Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn. Rockland Hibernians working with Jim Killoran and Habitat For Humanity, Westchester dug in to resurrect a Baptist Church in Far Rockaway. In Gerritsen Beach, the bright green t-shirts of the Hibernian Day of Action were busy in the homes of Hibernians and the “Home of the Gael”  Baile na nGael, the only AOH hall in NYC.

On that day, we in the AOH National Disaster Relief Committee visited Long Beach, Rockaway, Brooklyn’s Baile Na Ngael and NJ, distributing a Christmas donation to dozens of AOH recipients from the money collected in the fund. The day was full of  poignant moments, but our moving encounter with the cheerful and grateful young families of our recipients in the Rockaways is something we will never forget. At Baile Na Ngael, Noel Kilkenny, Irish Consul General, Brooklyn Borough President and Marty Golden met our AOH National Disaster Committee and AOH leaders like William Flannery, CT AOH President, and Mike McNabb, NY President and thanked the Hibernians for all our efforts.

Normally my article is reserved for immigration issues but this Superstorm has come at a time when no major movement is being made and only rumblings of immigration reform are on the horizon. Niall O’Dowd, Irish Voice and Central editor stated to me that working with the AOH, the three Irish immigration centers, GAA, Irish Network NY, IBO, Emerald Guild, the Irish Consulate, NYC Council and so many other groups on the Meitheal proved to be the greatest collaboration of Irish and Irish American in his recollection. I agree with Niall and I am confident that, in an environment where the US Senators and Representatives cannot seem to get their house in order, the work we did together will ultimately lead to a new level of cooperation on immigration reform and a host of other mutually important issues.

Immigration

Where there’s life, there’s hope! Truly words to live by, especially if you are a supporter of the Irish E3 Visa program. The considered opinion of Irish immigrations advocates and representatives in both US and Irish governments, and yours truly, is that we can still achieve the Visa in this Congress. Our work towards attaining this visa has been extensive and I thank all of you who have pitched in and put your backs into this effort. Be one of the many Hibernians who have made the call and say to the legislators that are helping us, let them know “We will never forget!” If they tell you that they can’t, or worse, won’t help, let them know, “We will never forget!” We might have to change tack politically, but the ask to your legislators is the same, tell them, again and again, “We need you to support the Irish E3 Visa now! We need you to urge your colleagues to support the Irish E3 Visa as well!”

 

The Irish E3 Visa program would greatly increase the amount of renewable visas to the United States from Ireland by 10,500. The Irish E3 would create a much needed avenue for young Irish people to seek employment, gain experience, and enrich our cultural exchange with the Irish. The prospect of educated, energetic Irish visa holders helping Irish Americans like yourselves to increase and expand our communities and invigorate the Irish American culture across the nation is far too important to write off. It is important that like many generations before, but not recently due to lack of visas, these people would return to Ireland with their “Made In The USA” experiences and help economic growth and goodwill towards America at home; Or they would have the right to stay in the US and help invigorate our own economy, organizations and communities.

Irelands jobless rates remain among the highest in Europe, yet the Irish are credited by economic with their efforts to address the situation. The highest levels of Irish diplomatic and political leadership have asked the highest levels of US leadership to support the Irish E3 Visa. Our National and State AOH leadership request that you do what you can to get this one OVER THE BAR!

 

Thanks again to NYS Treasurer Tim McSweeney for his aid with those unfortunately tangled in the web that our Irish undocumented and legal immigrants face. Tim’s work for detained Irish nationals extends across the ocean and has made a positive impact in many ways. I continue to work with Sean Pender on helping Relatives for Justice Families Inc and other families, attorneys, legislators and activists to the US for hearings and meetings as we did this past St. Patrick’s week. My work on immigration reform and other immigration issues has brought me to the Irish Embassy and the US State Department in Washington to address the issues of Irish E3 VisaThar Saile, detainees, and many other issues. I am happy to report that we have made tremendous strides in our work with Thar Saile and detainees and former prisoners. This year, Matt Morrison was able to visit his home in Derry for the first time in many years. I hope that at the National Convention more good news will arrive.  Please sign up for Immigration of you are planning to attend the convention!

 

During his address at several occasions in New York Irish President Michael D. Higgins singled out the AOH for its aid to the Irish immigrants over our history and more specifically our work on securing legal paths for Irish immigrants today. He also praised our support for the Irish Immigration Centers at his visit to the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Woodlawn.

 

I urge you to reach out to the Irish Immigration centers across the U.S. and volunteer either funding or sweat equity to the vital services they provide to Irish elderly and young immigrants alike. The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers site has information on all the centers and their programs www.ciic-usa.org I have worked with all of these centers over the years and they really deserve our help. I have visited the three centers in NY over the past few months and marvel at the great work they do and how they offer so many great services. New York County Division 4 met at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City. Westchester Division 1 Yonkers continues to support the Aisling Irish Center. In turn, the Aisling Center helped to fete the 100th Birthday of Bronx Division 5 member, Joe Cunningham during a visit of Irish President Michael D. Higgins. Joe and  Kitty Geissler, LAOH Tarrytown, were also honored by NYS Director Brian Kelly at the AOH/LAOH Westchester County Board Dance at the Hibernian Hall at the Hudson Valley Irish Center.

 

As your immigration chair, it gives me great pleasure to announce the greatest single effort to aid an Irish immigration center by Hibernians:

The Celtic Cruise aboard the Spirit of New York run by AOH NY County Division 7 to benefit the Emerald Isle Immigration Center on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 6pm. This promises to be the event of the year with music, dancing, great food and fun. Music on all decks provided by Celtic Cross, the Cunningham Brothers, Shay Mac Band, Chris Kelly Band and more! For more info and tickets contact www.celticcharity.com or call (212) 717-9955.

 

Below is a partial list of Senators that need to help with the Irish E3 Visa. You may notice that the listed are GOP senators. That is because the entire Democratic and Independent delegation have committed to the Irish E3 according to Senate leadership. What we need is GOP support for this bipartisan effort.

Arizona: John McCain – (202) 224-2235 and John Kyl (202)224-4521,

Alaska: Lisa Murkowski (202)224-6665,

Florida: Marco Rubio (202) 224-3041,

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell  (202) 224-2541,

Louisiana: David Vitter (202) 224-4623,

Maine: Olympia Snowe (202)224-5344

New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte (202) 224-3324

OH: Rob Portman (202)224-3353

South Carolina: Lindsey Graham – (202) 224-5972, Jim DeMint (843) 727-4525

Texas: John Cornyn 202-224-2934, Kay Bailey Hutchison (512)916-5834

TN: Lamar Alexander (202)224-4944,

Utah: Mike Lee (202) 224-5444

WI: Ron Johnson (202)224-5323

 

Immigration

The past few months have been a flurry of activity regarding immigration. The AOH has always formed the basis of Irish-American support for positive legislation and adjudication on Irish issues and Immigration is no exception. The AOH Preamble states that the purpose of the AOH is “to encourage an equitable U.S. Immigration law for Ireland, and cooperate with all groups for a fair American immigration policy.

 

Starting with the National Board’s diplomatic meeting with the Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and his staff, President Boyle continues to make resolution to Irish immigration reform and Thar Saile top priorities for this Board. The cooperation we have received from fellow Hibernians and National Board members to these ends is gratifying.

 

National PEC Chair Ned McGinley and I joined Bruce Morrison (ILIR lobbyist), Stella O’Leary (Irish American Democrats) and Ciaran Staunton (ILIR) at a meeting in the West Wing of the White House. We let the White House know the Irish have done much to aid the war on terror and Homeland Security with the Shannon Stopover and U.S. customs and immigration enhancements at Irish airports should not go unrewarded. The Irish have long been ignored in the dialog in the national debate on immigration as focus and often anger is directed at all immigrants due to the issues at the U.S. southern border. The need for the E3 visa creating future flow of over 10,500 visas annually and methods to resolve the plight of the Irish undocumented were discussed with representatives of the White House and Homeland Security.

 

In a recent conversation with Bruce Morrison, he described a focal point of the Irish E3 argument; creating “a culture of compliance” to immigration laws by those who desire to live and work in the U.S. coupled combined with a fair, renewable quota of visas for participating nations. An amended E3 would provide a legal channel with indefinite renewal for Irish applicants and their spouses. He is also seeking an admissibility waiver to waive the 10-year bar for overstaying in the U.S. for applicants. This aspect, admittedly, proves to be a difficult sell but would clear the way for undocumented Irish to apply for the E3. Janet Napolitano and the White House recently unveiled their strategies for immigration reform. Should these policies be adopted the undocumented Irish would be included and allowed to live and work in the U.S. regardless of how they entered the country. We will follow these initiatives closely.

 

An Tánaiste Eammon Gilmore and a delegation of Irish Department of Foreign Affairs leadership, including Ambassador Michael Collins and Secretary General David Cooney, came to N.Y. recently for the U.N. General Assembly. As part of the Minister’s visit, a reception in the N.Y. Irish Consulate and meetings with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers led by CIIC President Siobhan Dennehy (LAOH Division 18 Peekskill) and the ILIR, were held. On Sunday, as part of a visit to the Bronx office of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, EIIC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer, Mike Carroll (Brehon Law Society) and I met with An Tánaiste Gilmore and N.Y. Consul General Noel Kilkenny for a frank and productive dialog on Irish immigration initiatives and goals.

 

A follow-up meeting with Irish Embassy officials where Ned and I were joined by National Director Keith Carney and met with two recently arrived, leading Irish Embassy officials. At that meeting, we reiterated that the AOH will support legislation that includes a permanent solution for future flow for Irish immigrants as well as a solution for the Irish undocumented. There can be no doubt that our voice is being heard on our immigration concerns.

 

Thar Saile invited Sean Pender (National FFAI) and I to a meeting with Irish Consul General Gerry Staunton and to attend Thar Saile’s annual meeting. At these two very productive sessions, Sean and I were able to underline the AOH’s support for Thar Saile and recent developments on the cases will prove that our work was both timely and necessary. Matt Morrison, Thar Saile President, unable to attend his engagement as a speaker at the NYS FFAI Christmas Appeal fundraiser on October 13 at Harbour Lights Restaurant, credited the presence of two AOH National Board members, Sean Pender and myself, as key ingredients for the success of the two meetings. He sent a message to attendees at the National Board meeting and the NYS AOH fundraiser that much progress has been made in getting his work and travel permissions sorted.

 

I am grateful when members who make me aware of Irish immigrants in distress. On July 4th, NYS Secretary Tim McSweeney reported that a Derry man was incarcerated in Albany for a visa violation. A summer-long fight to get this man back to his wife and 2-year-old daughter and his B&B business in Derry ensued. Despite appeals from Irish President Mary McAleese (his relative) and many others in the Irish Nationalist and Derry community, he was held by the slow moving bureaucracy of ICE for nearly three months! Thanks to the efforts of Brother McSweeney and the cooperation of the N.Y. Consulate we were able to keep the man in communication with his family in Boston and in Derry. He and his family are now happily reunited and grateful for the support they received from the AOH. The nightmare of his long incarceration may be over but it clearly points out the need for our work and communication on immigration.

 

The time to get involved with these issues is now. I ask that you consider becoming your Division’s Immigration Chairman and contact me with any questions or concerns: Dan Dennehy, 22 Andre Lane, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567, by email: dandennehy@hotmail.com or phone (914)588-2710.

 

Yours in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,

Dan Dennehy

 

Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers www.ciic-usa.org

Emerald Isle Immigration Center www.eiic.org

Cross Care www.migrantproject.ie/emigrating_from_ireland_usa.htm

Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform www.irishlobbyusa.org

Thar Saile www.tharsaile.org