Chuck Schumer’s Irish Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer. From Wikimedia Commons.

By Tara Dougherty, Music Editor
February / March 2012

New York Senator Charles Schumer has gained a great deal of support from the Irish in America since mid-December, when he introduced an Irish visa bill to the Senate.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin of Vermont and Illinois, respectively, would permit 10,000 Irish citizens to live and work in the United States per year on a newly proposed E-3 non-immigrant visa. One condition of obtaining such a visa is a secure job offer in the United States in a specialty field. Spouses and children are also granted visas not to be counted in the 10,000 quota. Irish nationals currently living illegally in the United States would be eligible to apply. The movement was introduced as an amendment to immigration legislation passed by the House in November.

Senator Schumer called this a “common sense bill” which was built on with the same structure as a current visa program for Australian nationals. The legislation creating the E-3 visa in 2005 followed the same model as this new Irish visa bill, allowing Australians to work and live in the United States. The visa would be renewable indefinitely; the Australian version is up for renewal every two years.

Senator Schumer commented, “[The bill] has already passed the House with overwhelming bi-partisan support and we hope that we will find similar support in the Senate for this common sense bill that improves the fairness and efficiency of our immigration system, while also including a mutual visa exchange with Ireland, one of America’s steadfast allies.”

Ireland, in the face of the world economic crisis, has clocked staggering emigration numbers in the recent years. In 2010, 65,300 left Ireland in search of jobs, the majority leaving for the US, Australia and other English-speaking countries. This is the highest emigration rate since the 1980s. The new bill would aid much of the Irish who pour into America, most often illegally, to establish themselves as legal residents of the United States.

2 Responses to “Chuck Schumer’s Irish Bill”

  1. anonymous says:

    Is this fair considering that the Irish government..even where they have extended the right to an Irish passport back another generation to great grandparents… make sure that they systematically exclude/block the return of the descendants of the Irish often deported by force during the Great Famine? This means that my father in his late 80s could have an Irish passport, but I in my 40s cannot! And, meanwhile it is Lithuanians and Poles who are being allowed into Ireland to take jobs away from the Irish! The Irish government feels it owes the Famine victims nothing and yet we owe them? Come on! And, why in the bleep are we giving special status to Australia?!!! Both Ireland and Australia have plenty of space to keep their own. Ireland has had a low population ever since it exported about half in the 1840s and 50s.

  2. Ronan says:

    You don’t see the irony of scapegoating Lithuantian and Polish immigrants no? They came here looking for a better life and those I worked with in Dublin always struck me as hard working and upfront, ‘taking’ jobs disinterested Irish teenagers like myself at the time didn’t take seriously at all.

    I’d welcome a move to offer Irish citizenship to descendants looking to return all the same, come back lads we’ve loads of space in the midlands!!

Leave a Reply to Ronan


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