Irish fight for reform of immigration

The Hill/Ian Swanson/[[March 1, 2007]]/ link

Thousands of Irish-Americans will arrive in Washington 10 days before St. Patrick's Day to lobby members of Congress to reform immigration laws.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) organized the [[March 7, 2007]] event and expects as many as 4,000 people to attend, many of them traveling to D.C. by bus from the heavily Irish communities of New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

...ILIR's executive director, Kelly Fincham, said the group's focus this year is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), since Pelosi would be capable of bringing an immigration reform bill to the floor. She said about 200 members of the group are expected to travel to Washington next week from San Francisco.

O'Dowd said the group supported the Kennedy-McCain bill introduced last year and will be pressing members of Congress to move that legislation this year. O'Dowd said he expects the two senators to introduce their legislation in the next two weeks.

The Irish lobby can make a difference by reminding members of Congress of the diversity of immigrants, according to Stacy Terrel of the National Council of La Raza...

"I'm thrilled they're coming," said Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum...

'O'Dowd said McCain credited the group with changing the minds of four or five senators last year.

Also discusses difficulties the group has with illegal immigration opponent Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.)