17 thoughts on “Tread Carefully

  1. Fact Checker

    Every year Irish leaders get a small amount of uninterrupted face time with the serving US President. This is unprecedented for a country which is VERY, VERY small in terms of global population.

    The consistent point raised year after year by Irish leaders is a call for immigration reform in the US.

    Is this REALLY the most important issue that Irish politicians should be stressing to the most powerful human on earth?

    Particularly when there are (roughly speaking) as many immigrants illegally in Ireland who would like to remain?

    1. Kieran Nice Young Chap


      Especially when it’s such a non-runner politically here, getting some kind of exception for the Irish.

      Maybe they could get more legal visas allocated to Ireland, but that’s about it.

      1. Fact Checker

        There are already about 1,500 green cards allocated to Irish people per year.

        That’s about one for every forty babies born in Ireland per year. It is VERY high by international standards.

        If you apply every year for ten years for a green card your chances of getting one are quite high.

          1. Fact Checker

            So that’s how it is. The US has a programme to allow a large number of Irish people into the US to reside there permanently, subject to good character, etc.

            Ireland has NO equivalent programme for US citizens to come to Ireland.

            Does Ireland have any moral high ground to stand upon?

          2. Nigel

            If the US wanted Ireland to have a visa programme for US citizens, we’d have one. I’d be in favour, for what it’s worth.

    2. Ghost of Caroline

      Of course it is. Like it or not, it is the single biggest issue specific to Ireland/US relations. The whole shamrock charade is occasioned by our persistent immigration to the US – to avail of the ceremony and then not mention how that issue currently stands would be perverse. Due to our EU membership, trade and investment issues are negotiated under vastly different conditions, and are in any case not as amenable to a personal appeal (see how individual members of Congress have been able to champion previous reform). It affects Irish citizens in the US as well as their families in Ireland (i.e. constituents). And the current climate for many of them is one of increasing fear.

      All this is true whether you support the idea of a path to citizenship for illegal Irish immigrants or if they give you a massive pain in the hole. Clamouring for an amnesty based on Irish exceptionalism is just how the Irish do things. Far better might have been to show solidarity and leadership and push the issue together with other immigrant groups. But well… y’know.

      The reason there are no reciprocal visa arrangements with a country of 320 million people probably has something to do with how Ireland is as you say “VERY VERY small in terms of global population”. 1,500 visas is 1 for every 213,000 US citizens. We could reciprocate by issuing 20 visas a year.

    3. Nigel

      Well, he’s not going to raise Irish domestic issues because they’d be of no interest, and sticking his oar into anything that doesn’t directly concern him would be seriously unwelcome. My guess is that the illegal Irish is ‘the issue the big heads discuss openly and safely and traditionally’ while the real connections are made by various officials with friendly chats and handshakes and introductions.

  2. Kenny Plank

    Let’s call them what fat white people from England and Ireland like to be called in Dubai, Spain and the U.S.: Ex-pats.

  3. GiggidyGoo

    But an American pensioner that can support herself is told to leave Ireland because she hasn’t got €150,000 in savings (that she wouldn’t be allowed touch anyway) nor an income of €50,000 per annum. Kenny sure chooses his subjects to suit. Will we see Irish people that haven’t got such assets or income being forced under threat to leave Ireland now?
    When Kenny refers to the undocumented in the US, is he referring to the undocumented people that were sold from Bessbrook or Tuam to rich American families? Those undocumented? Or is he just blathering the same old same old year in year out.

  4. Painkiller

    They just can’t keep the politics out of St Patrick’s Day. It used to be something that was done in the States but now it’s arrived at home.

    It was always inevitable that liberal media and politicians would be lobbied or advised to use this year as an opportunity to move within the populist narrative that having migration policy is always and everywhere a challenge to a free world. Cynical stuff. If you skip the queue, you don’t get served. It’s that simple.

    And using St Patrick and/or the Irish emigration experience to undermine concerns where alarming cultural divides actually exist and need to be discussed or addressed is remarkably cunning and underhand. Between that, involving guest speakers from Black Lives Matters and allowing the parade to be used as a celebration of sexual orientation in Boston, the celebration has clearly been appropriated and is as hollow as a loud drum at this point.

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