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    Too early to give up immigration reform fight, NY Times says

    By Noreen Bowden | March 2, 2010

    The New York Times has called for a renewed commitment to comprehensive immigration reform in the US in an editorial today. The editorial says that the US needs to confront the issue, with a solution that “would clamp down on the border and the workplace, streamline legal immigration and bring 12 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows”. It notes that the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress say they remain committed to comprehensive reform this year, despite “the poisonous stalemate on Capitol Hill”.

    Remarkably, it mentions the recent declaration by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform that the issue is dead. From the editorial:

    At least one advocacy group, the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, has declared the dream of comprehensive reform dead. It is urging incremental change, with modest reforms like the Dream Act. Other groups may follow. It is too soon to give up.

    Some Irish activists have been criticised in the past for being too willing to look for a special solution that would assist the undocumented Irish with a separate solution. Yesterday, Niall O’Dowd, speaking on Pat Kenny’s RTE 1 radio show, said that he believed the only option was a series of piecemeal solutions. One that he mentioned was a  visa agreement between Ireland and the US similar to US agreements with Australia and Chile; this would give Irish people access to non-permanent visas, renewable every two years. While this would ensure continuing Irish access to the US, it’s a solution that would presumably be unavailable to the tens of thousands of Irish estimated to be in the US illegally right now.

    The New York Times adds that legislation in the house is being prepared by Representative Luis Gutierrez, and a similar bill for the Senate by Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham.

    The Irish Echo seems to agree with the New York Times that there is life in the process yet. In last week’s edition, it said, “One source close to the legislative process admitted to what he called ‘a very challenging (legislative) environment’ but added that reports of reform’s demise were premature.”

    Here’s hoping  it’s too early to give up the fight.

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