The Irish-American community knows all too well about the devastating impact of restrictive immigration laws, and they’re ready to make their voices heard loud and clear. Representatives of the Irish-American immigrant community want fair immigration reform and are visiting Congress to ask for them to right a historical wrong.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 12th, Irish-American delegates from 15 states, including Virginia, will join a group of over 40 delegates from across the country to meet with key House Members, including all GOP members of the Judiciary and GOP Leadership, and remind them of what’s at stake for the Irish-American community. Wearing t-shits with the words, “No Irish Need Apply? Why?,” delegates, led by Ciaran Staunton, President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), will hold a brief media availability and press conference ahead of their capitol hill visits at 10am on the steps of the Longworth Office Building and call on the House or Representatives to stop delaying a vote and deliver fair immigration reform once and for all.
In several Virginia GOP districts, Irish-Americans represent a sizeable chunk of the population: 12.5% in House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA), 14.6% in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA), and 10.1% in Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA).
Throughout history, the Irish have fought in America’s wars and received a record number of Medals of Honor, with 258 in total issued to Irish immigrants. The Irish have built our cities and railroads, policed our streets, fought our fires and taught in our schools, playing a major role in shaping the historical foundation of the United States.
Today, Ronald Reagan’s and John F. Kennedy’s Irish ancestors or relatives could not come to America legally. The 1965 Immigration Act locked Irish out of the United States. Between 2002 and 2011, Ireland received just 15,389 of the 10.5 million US permanent resident visas issues globally (approximately .15% of the total visas issued), putting Ireland at 85th place in the world.