Saturday, December 24, 2011

U.S. military plane vandalized at Shannon airport

Irish protesters object to US military presence there

ANTOINETTE KELLY, - Irish Central Staff Writer - December 23, 2011

An aircraft used to transport US troops has been damaged in the latest security breach at Shannon airport in Ireland.

A hole was cut in a perimeter fence which allowed vandals access to the Omni Air International DC-10 airliner, where they severed its hydraulics pipe and spray painted the words the words 'US troops out.'

As the aircraft was a replacement plane it was not protected by Irish police or soldiers.

The latest attack comes eight years after a US Navy cargo jet was vandalized twice in a matter of days by Irish anti-war campaigners. At the time the incident forced the Government to provide a greater security presence at the airport.


When are the nit-wits that commit blatant acts of vandalism against privately owned American aircraft and participate in obnoxious demonstrations against American troops ever going to learn? They are biting the hand that feeds them and are on a fast track to the #1 spot on the “stupid meter”. Many of the American troops that their demonstrations are aimed against are sons and daughters and close relatives of their own Irish diaspora and are serving our country with honor and distinction. They can’t have it both ways. They can’t be constantly coming to the U.S. seeking favors and money and then turn around and involve themselves in this very offensive behavior. It will not be tolerated much longer even by those Americans who bend over backwards to help them in so many ways. They would be very well advised to “smarten up” before it is too late.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Irish businessman is released from immigration jail

Irish businessman is released from immigration jail

Relives nightmare experience after two weeks in confinement

Niall O’Dowd, - IrishCentral - December 16, 2011

The nightmare of being plucked from your day to day life and jailed for an indefinite period, not knowing what will become of you, is one most of us will never experience.

A young Irishman picked up outside his home and held for deportation which I wrote about on Thursday experienced that dreadful fate.

I cannot name him for safety reasons but I am pleased to report that has been released from jail where he was being held on the immigration charges.

He has been given a date on which he is to leave the country and his business and successful life behind him.

As we talked he told me he was making every effort with his wife to avoid that fate.

The odds are probably stacked against him but he will make every effort.” I love this country, it has been great to me and my wife, I really want my unborn child to live here and experience how amazing it is “ he said.

As I reported the businessman, who employs 20 workers and whose wife is pregnant, was picked up and jailed, despite the fact that he had no police record was not wanted for any other crime and had simply taken the same path to success in America as millions of Irish before.

However, as he explained to me in an exclusive interview his world came crashing down when he was ready to drive to work one morning two weeks ago.

Armed agents from homeland security were outside his house . For a second he though they were regular police, coming to tell him they had traced the person who was using his stolen credit cards which he had reported.

But they were immigration agents who had traced him after someone turned him in as undocumented.

They has actually visited a previous address in Yonkers seeking him on two different occasions.

He still remembers the sense of fear and dread as the perfectly courteous officers placed him in a car and drove him to jail in Manhattan. “I did not know what would become of me “ he told me .
Ahead was a two week nightmare as he sought to make sense of his predicament .

He had gone in minutes from being a successful businessman with a great future to a name and a number in the American prison system

After spending two days in Manhattan he was transferred to a jail in New Jersey as his wife and friends frantically tried to pin down his location.

The first night he will never forget as he shared a cell with a prisoner who snored so loudly he was completely unable to sleep.

Soon he became attuned to daily life. He did not feel threatened, though he was one of a very fewwhite people being held, the guards he felt were business like and did not hassle him. The terrible uncertainty however gnawed at him.

Outside his wife and friends were frantically trying to find a way to get him released. PresidentObama had recently announced that only criminal aliens would be targeted by the ICE, the immigration and customs enforcement agency .

Why then was a young man who was providing extensive employment in New York, an upstanding member of the community, suddenly finding himself in prison?

We may never know why but on Wednesday after two weeks behind bars he was suddenly told to pack his things and to get ready to leave right away.

He though he was being deported there and then when he sat into the vehicle driving him away from the prison. Instead they told him he was being released and gave him the date when he is supposed to leave the country by.

He is deeply thankful to all who helped get him back to normal. Typically, he was back at work the next day, thankful for the politicians and Irish community leaders who tried to intervene.

“I so much want to stay, to build my life here with my wife and our children” he said.

Whether he will ever be able to achieve that remains a huge question mark.


Unfortunately, this is not an exception to the rule. It goes on every day of the week as attested to by the agencies in cities throughout the U.S. that provide services for Irish immigrants. They are routinely apprehended for minor infractions, detained for extended periods of time in jails with hardened criminals, and eventually deported. There will, most likely, be no change in this abhorrent practice whether or not either of the recently submitted immigration bills, both of which are based on the Australian E-3 visa program, is passed. The E-3 is an employment based non immigrant (temporary) visa which gives precedence to college graduates in specialty fields who wish to emigrate to the U.S. They do little or nothing to address the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals currently residing in the U.S. Unless and until their plight is recognized, addressed, and permanently resolved, these apprehensions, detentions, and deportations will continue unabated and will probably be intensified. It is time for those Americans who never hesitate to proclaim their Irishness to step up to the plate and do something to help our own in their time of need!!!

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Monday, December 12, 2011

Senator Schumer set to introduce immigration bill in Senate to help Irish

Bill would allow up to 10,000 non-immigrant work visas yearly for Irish

Niall O’Dowd, IrishCentral - December 10, 2011, 7:34 AM

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is set to introduce an immigration bill in the senate on Tuesday which would allow up to 10,000 Irish a year to come to America on work visas but not green cards.

Schumer says that leading Democrats Senator Pat Leahy and Senator Richard Durbin will co-sponsor the legislation and he is seeking support from Republican senators as well.

The Schumer move came after he met with 20 Irish community leaders at his New York office on Friday.

The Irish community leaders had expressed their dismay that a bill that passed the House two weeks ago and is now in the senate, allowed more green cards for Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Mexican immigrants but actually took away green cards from Ireland.

The new Schumer move is based on the E3 visas, which were given to Australia some years ago for their support in the Gulf War. Under the terms of the visa up to 10,000 Australians a year can come to America once they have a job offer and can renew their non-immigrant visas indefinitely.

Schumer’s bill would introduce the same House bill that passed two weeks ago in the senate with the E3 visas added.

In the senate Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa has stated that he will oppose the original bill and not allow it expedited passage but there is mounting pressure on the Iowa Republican to let it pass.

Schumer stated that if the bill did not pass he would work on a different bill for next years’ legislative session that would help the Irish.

Bart Murphy, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform who flew from San Francisco to be part of the meeting stated afterwards he was very satisfied with the hour-long session.

“We know we have a great friend in Senator Schumer,” he said “and we look forward to the introduction of the new bill. We will work with Irish organizations across the US too bring pressure to bear on legislators to pass it.”

Key Republican senators such as Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Marco Rubio in Florida will be especially targeted by Irish lobby members.


It is a sad testimonial to the so called friends of the Irish in Congress if this is the best that can be done to alleviate the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals currently residing in the United States. In actual fact, it would give precedence to prospective Irish immigrants with college degrees and the promise of a job here and does nothing for those that are already here in an undocumented status. The hue and cry since the ILIR was established in 2005 has been “Legalize the Irish”. For the uninitiated, that expression was in reference to those already living here out of status, not those who had yet to leave Ireland. The resulting groundswell of enthusiasm was in anticipation of a campaign to pass legislation that would once and for all resolve the plight of undocumented Irish nationals who had come here out of shear desperation because their own country could not support them. What has happened to that noble effort? Is it going to be abandoned for an E-3 non-immigrant (temporary) type visa program which does absolutely nothing to resolve the plight of our undocumented Irish and, once again, leave the intended recipients of our original goal on the outside looking in? If so, all of our efforts have been a failure and we should all be ashamed of ourselves.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Irish frozen out of a new green card bill in Congress

Will lose out to China, India, Philipines and Mexico

NIALL O'DOWD - December 7, 2011, 7:28 AM

A green card bill that will be a bonanza for Indian, Chinese, Latino and Filipino immigrants is making its way through Congress and has passed the House of Representatives.

It will have the impact of denying green cards to other countries, including Ireland,as a new quota will give more to the countries listed above.

This is from The New York Times last week: “The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that tweaks the visa system to allow more highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents.

“The legislation also includes a measure that will more than double the green cards based on family ties available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It raises the country limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current seven percent.

“The bill seemed likely to pass easily in the Senate, said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, a leading Democrat on immigration.”

There you have it, for all those bleeding heart Irish individuals who have always said the Irish should never, ever seek to do a deal for their own immigrants.

Such people usually cite the Hispanics as the ones we must wait for in order to all win comprehensive immigration reform together.

One thing I’m certain of -- neither the Hispanics, the Filipinos or the Indians or Chinese were worried about Irish concerns when they went ahead and bent Congress to their will on this issue last week.

Funny, isn’t it, that many Irish adopt this respectful strategy of waiting for comprehensive while other countries know full well it is an utter pipe dream.

They get on with it and are proving successful as the above story makes abundantly clear.

Indeed, they will hit the number of Irish green cards available because Mexico and the Philippines have just carved up more visas for themselves, which will leave countries like Ireland with less.

Don’t get me wrong -- I’m not blaming the various governments or lobbyists or politicians who put this together. More power to them, I say, if they can help their own people.

But I am criticizing those in the Irish American sphere who have long claimed that we, meaning the Irish, could never move on our own in case we offended some people.

Well, guess what? We Irish, with our own undocumented problem and thousands fleeing Ireland every month, just got “offended” by this – and it doesn’t matter a whit.

This is a done deal and the Irish are no part of it mainly because of a reluctance to even express our wishes.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois signed onto this bill after years of saying comprehensive only.

Gutierrez said, “We need bigger fixes to our legal immigration system so that employers and families use official channels, not black-market ones. We want people to go through the system, not around it.”

Yes indeed, we agree with the congressman on that score.

Schumer also thinks the aforementioned House bill is a good thing and I firmly believe it is as well -- if you are from one of those countries.

It is high time we woke up again to this reality, that without concerted pressure we will never get action on immigration.

It ultimately involves the Irish government and the Irish American community standing and working together.

So what are we waiting for?


They say that “politics make strange bedfellows”. For the past 30 years, Niall O’Dowd and I have labored in the vineyards on the issue of Irish immigration and in all that time we have usually had opposing points of view regarding how to resolve the issue. However, I would not only be remiss but also less than honest if I did not say that I am, for the most part, in agreement with his views expressed in the article above. The Irish immigration issue can and must be resolved if our cherished heritage is to survive in the chosen homeland of countless thousands of the Irish diaspora. It must begin with a permanent resolution to the plight of our undocumented Irish nationals from all 32 counties of Ireland. The next step would be to work on the passage of legislation that would guarantee an annual quota of legal Irish immigrants thus insuring the survival of our treasured Irish heritage in the greatest country on earth.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America