Normally, perseverance is considered a positive trait. But Senator Chuck Schumer’s determination to pass an amnesty, no matter how hurtful it would be to American workers, isn’t admirable unless, of course, you are the beneficiary of his largess.
In this case the Irish, if Schumer has his way, will be the big winners.
After a Friday meeting in his New York office with 20 Irish community leaders, Schumer announced that he is prepared to introduce a bill that would allow up to 10,000 Irish to come to America annually to work on E-3 visas. [Senator Schumer Set to Introduce New Immigration Bill to Help Irish, by Niall O’Dowd, Irish Central, December 10, 2011]
The E-3 was first issued to Australians several years ago as a reward for its American support during the Gulf War. Once Australians have a firm job offer, they can come to the United States and renew their non-immigrant visas indefinitely.
Stated another (and more sobering) way, the Irish would be able to come to the United States as part of a permanent workers’ flow. Even though they would officially be “temporary,” in fact, they would be permanent residents.
E-3 fine print may also include relief through waivers for some illegal alien Irish currently living and (possibly) working in the United States.
Apparently, the Irish were dismayed when two weeks ago the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 3012) passed the House of Representatives (read my blog about it here) that allowed for more green cards for Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Mexican workers but reduced the numbers from Ireland.
Schumer is counting on Democratic Senators Pat Leahy and Richard Durbin as allies and has targeted freshman Republican Senators Pat Toomey, Scott Brown and Marco Rubio for bipartisan support. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley has said he would oppose the recently passed House bill. Since Schumer’s would reintroduce the H.R. 3012 with the Irish E-3 provision added, Grassley would assumedly oppose it too.
Capitol Hill sources indicate that pressure is mounting on Grassley to allow debate. If Schumer is unsuccessful, as seems probable, he vowed to try again during the 2012 legislative session. As I previously noted, Schumer is nothing if not persistent.
Bart Murphy, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, flew to New York from San Francisco to join with Schumer. At the end of their meeting, Murphy said:
“We know we have a great friend in Senator Schumer and we look forward to the introduction of the new bill. We will work with Irish organizations across the United States to bring pressure on legislators to pass it.”
Unfortunately, American workers have never been able to count Schumer as a “great friend.”