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Meanwhile, across the Rio Atlantic

Quick, somebody start punching keys and find out if Eva Longoria has any Irish roots. The actress was one of a group of what The Hill newspaper described as "influential Hispanics" who huddled recently with President Obama at the White House to discuss immigration reform, or more accurately, the lack of it.  Besides Longoria, the star of Desperate Housewives, others invited to the gathering included actresses Rosario Dawson and America Ferrera, Univision hosts Don Francisco and Maria Elena Salinas, and Telemundo anchors Vanessa Hauc and Jose Diaz-Balart," the report stated. Madre Le Dios, but is anybody organizing an Irish American equivalent of this glitzy cavalcade? If we needed reminding at all of where the reform needle swings to these days it was this White House gathering and his recent speech in El Paso where the president renewed his push for comprehensive immigration reform by citing America's legacy as a nation of immigrants while stating that finding a solution for millions of undocumented was critical to the country's future. "It doesn't matter where you come from. What matters is that you believe in the ideals on which we were founded, that you believe all of us are equal. In embracing America, you can become American. That is what makes this country great," said Obama in his El Paso address. Eh, a little problem here Mr. President. Where you come from does seem to matter these days. Perhaps this is why an immigration speech in, say, dear old Ellis Island, is about as likely right now as a speech on the history of the Boston Red Sox - in Yankee Stadium. The fact is that if you come from Ireland the chances of obtaining a green card outside some rarified or highly specialized visa category are slim to the point of non-existent. But wait a moment! Stepping into the role of El Paso next week there is Dublin and Moneygall, both stops on the Obama Irish road show. In the case of Moneygall, the story of immigration to America will be front and center, albeit at a time when America was a vast empty space and the Irish were allowed entry because they could help fill it. And help they did. But today America is filling up fast and the Irish, those few who make it across the ocean legally, are having to compete for scarce visas with immigrants from just about every country on the planet. This is as it should be. But while every nationality is entitled to its American dream, the matter of divvying up visas on a fair and proportional basis has been swept aside by the crisis caused by the lack of action in Washington aimed at sorting out animmigration mess that has been in large part caused by, well, the lack of action. So many on this side of the Rio Atlantic will be paying extra close attention next week to Obama's words on the other side when, for one day, Moneygall will get to play a symbolic border town. Venceremos!

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