Ireland, US could ease immigration
I know that my view on this will not be popular with many but I must say that I fail to understand the Irish Government's attitude when it comes to "illegal" immigrants. If the illegal immigrant is Irish and is working in the US they are really "good guys" contributing to American society and at the same time helping their family back in Ireland. However, if the "illegal immigrants" happen to be in Ireland then they are "bad guys" acting as a drain on the state finances.
Ireland, US could ease immigration
The Government is considering a special deal with the US that could ease immigration requirements in both countries following negotiations during the Taoiseach's trip to New York.
Brian Cowen says the 'pro-active' deal would ease restrictions on working visas so that US citizens, particularly young people, can work in Ireland in return for concessions on the undocumented in the US.
Modeled on a recent arrangement with Australia, a deal to create a new set of work visas for Irish immigrants would likely come in the form of a bilateral treaty between America and Ireland linked to the recent success of the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Irish officials have signaled that they were attempting to convince the Bush administration to make the visas available for Irish who have immigrated illegally. That would be a departure from the deal reached with Australia.
Not all in the Irish community are applauding Ireland's entry into the American immigration fray, however. Instead, the possibility of a deal has set off a conflict between those who see the effort as a way to move the immigration debate forward, and those who worry that giving Irish illegal immigrants opportunities that Mexicans and others lack would be discriminatory and unfair.
"To support a special deal that would single out illegal Irish immigrants for preferential treatment would be morally wrong, could harm the U.S.-Ireland relationship, damage the high regard in which Irish-Americans are held, and lead to a divisive debate in the U.S. between the Hispanic community and the Irish-American community," the president of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, Trina Vargo, wrote recently in the Irish Times.
The article, published in November, provoked an immediate backlash in the Irish community here.
"Her malevolent intervention comes at a time when it seemed some progress was being made on the issue. It is a shameful attempt to condemn young Irish immigrants to life in the shadows here, but it won't work," the chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, Niall O'Dowd, wrote in his own article in the Irish Voice, the newspaper he founded.
"There are many things in the world to get outraged about. Irish Americans seeking to help their own become legal in America is not one of them," he wrote.
THE GOVERNMENT says it may sign up to a major new initiative designed to crack down on illegal immigration and co-ordinate asylum policies in the EU.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern will meet fellow EU justice ministers in Cannes today to debate a European pact on immigration and asylum.
A draft copy of the pact obtained by The Irish Times shows that it will call on EU states to expel more illegal immigrants, harmonise their asylum procedures and make more effort to integrate immigrants into their societies.
The draft pact states that the EU does not have the resources to decently receive "all who see Europe as an El Dorado".
It also warns that poorly-managed immigration may disrupt the social cohesion of host countries.