Against the backdrop of the still emerging Irish E3 visa bill in Congress, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is signaling this week that it is committed to sustaining, and if need be intensifying, its coast to coast efforts to increase the legal flow of Irish immigrants while working to improve the dire situation facing the undocumented Irish.
In a statement issued after a meeting of Irish immigration reform activists in New York last week – a meeting attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny – the AOH assessed its current role and offered a glimpse of future actions.
“With hundreds of Hibernian divisions that are de facto Irish cultural centers in most major cities, as well as towns and parishes across the U.S., the AOH has been in the unique position of offering aid to Irish immigrants and immigration efforts from informed, connected and established members of the community since our inception 175 years ago,” a statement, co-signed by National President Seamus Boyle and National Immigration Chairman, Dan Dennehy, said.
“The past 25 years have witnessed both the Irish Immigration Reform Movement and Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform turning to our leadership and members for the vital connectivity that we have to our legislators on local, state and national levels. For it is these divisions, county, state and national AOH, that these legislators seek to associate with to reach Irish American support. Indeed, legislators and their aides are at times members of the AOH/LAOH,” the statement said.
The statement said that AOH was grateful for the efforts of the Irish government, through its embassy and consulates, and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, for enabling gathering for the AOH, the various centers, Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, Boston Irish and ILIR. these meetings, it said, had been clearing houses for ideas that have resulted in the “great collaborative and nonpartisan effort” towards attaining the Irish E3 visa bills.
“We also thank Bruce Morrison and ILIR for arranging vital meetings with the White House, and we are happy to reciprocate by introducing our states’ legislators to Morrison and the Irish Lobby.”
“This bill, said the statement in reference to the E3 measure, “will remedy many of the future flow immigration issues between Ireland and the U.S., but our work on the undocumented remains ahead of us.”
The statement concluded by committing AOH members to helping “the next wave of legal Irish immigrants live, work and become vital members of the rich cultural exchange that has always existed between our two great nations.”