GAA bringing the diaspora together like no other organisation abroad

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, headed by Ciaran Staunton, highlighted to match-goers the current bill to create a pathway to citizenship for thousands of undocumented Irish in the states as well as increasing the number of visa’s allocated to Irish travelling there in the future.

ILIR reaches out to 17 states at National GAA event in Cleveland

The GAA fans at  the North  American County Board (NACB) Finals welcomed the volunteers of the Irish  Lobby for  Immigration Reform (ILIR) as at least 8,000 from 17 states across the United  States descended on Cleveland for the weekend.

ILIR’s message was for the  Irish and Irish American community to reach out to their Congressmen and remind  them that immigration is an Irish issue and one they feel passionately about.  Their message to those visiting their information booth was simple, the Irish  were locked out by the Irish act in 1965 and the legislation set to go before  the House of Congress in the coming few weeks will fix this broken system.

President of ILIR Ciaran  Staunton was delighted to have the chance to reach out to Irish and Irish  Americans from across the country.

He told IrishCentral, “It’s amazing to  have 100 teams from 36 cities and 17 states all in one field in Cleveland. It  was the perfect opportunity to reach out to the fantastic GAA community we have  stretching out throughout the country.

“What we need to do in the next  three weeks as this legislation goes to Congress is burn up the phone lines and  speak to our politicians.”

Over the summer months, while many took a  break, the ILIR was working hard on influencing the 148 representatives in  Congress who will, come October, make a decision on the United States  comprehensive immigration reform.

The legislation, drafted by “the Gang  of Seven” headed up by  New York Senator Chuck Schumer, will not only provide a pathway to  citizenship for the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States  currently but it will also insure a future flow of Irish so the Irish community  in the United States will continue to flourish. The new law will provide 10,500  visas for the Irish annually, an annual quota which currently does not  exist.

Deirdre Foy, an ILIR volunteer who manned the information booth  for the weekend was encouraged by the response of the GAA community. She told  IrishCentral, “They really wanted to know what they can do to help remedy the  Irish situation and make sure this new bill goes through Congress this fall.  This is the best chance we have of fixing this broken system.”

They were  ready to learn about the situation, the legislation and what came next. Foy  added, “What was great was that they were educating themselves and bringing  their new knowledge back to their teams, signing up to our Facebook page and  pledging to keep informed and help.”

However Foy was also surprised by  some people’s reactions to the old 2006 “Legalize the Irish” t-shirts hanging  from the booth. Some simply thought immigration reform was an issue for those “south of the border” but this is not the case. In fact only 25 percent of the  estimated 11 million people living without papers in the United States are from  South America.

Among those millions are the 50,000 Irish but more  importantly there’s those Irish who in the future will look to the United States  and be able to receive one of those 10,500 visas. Last week the Central  Statistics Office of Ireland released figures showing that every six minutes a  person leaves Ireland. Sadly in the year to April 2013 only six percent of these  came to the United States, simply because it’s so difficult to get a visa.

Where will events such as the NACB Finals and other Irish cultural events be  if this continues?

Comments Off on GAA bringing the diaspora together like no other organisation abroad

Filed under Active Citizenship

Comments are closed.