Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dáil exchange over undocumented

Irish Echo Staff - February 27, 2013
John Deasy and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore “enjoyed a frank exchange in the Dáil” last week on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the U.S., this according to a statement from the Waterford TD’s office.
“The problem is that there never has been a plan B put into operation either by this or the previous government. There have been a lot of false dawns. While we have made progress with regard to the E3 visa, as the Tánaiste has said, it will not cover the bulk of the undocumented Irish. Who is the Tánaiste speaking to on the Republican side, the usual suspects?” said Deasy.
“The reality is that over the last ten or 15 years we have lost sway on Capitol Hill and we have lost sway in particular with the Republican Party. The House of Representatives is held by the Republicans and the opinion of that party on immigration has hardened over the last five or six years. We have not made any inroads into that party in terms of convincing it that a standalone deal, if necessary, is good for the Republicans. I wish to remind the Tánaiste that when it came to the green cards, it was Republican presidencies that allowed that to happen, namely former Presidents Bush and Reagan,” Deasy. who once worked as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, added.
“The Visa Waiver Bill, which has helped Ireland so much over the last 18 years, was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress. The Clinton administration was actually against it. Unless we have a return to the kind of situation that we had 20 years ago with, in particular, the Republican Party and if comprehensive immigration reform fails again we will be left in the same position in which we currently find ourselves,” he said.
It would appear that Waterford T.D. John Deasy, unlike many of his colleagues in Dail Eireann, believes in dealing with reality. The reality is that the plight of  undocumented Irish nationals currently living in the U.S. is paramount and must be dealt with and permanently resolved before the attention of Dail Eireann and Irish immigrant activists in the U.S. is turned  toward future flows of immigrants. Also, the proposed “Irish E-3 Program”, in its present form, is not a solution to future flows of immigrants from Ireland in that it is a “non-immigrant visa”. There is,currently, no provision to convert the “E-3 temporary work permit” to a permanent residency visa and eventual U.S. citizenship.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Life of prayer at core of Bishop D'Arcy's 'priestly heart'
By Kay Cozad  -  2/22/2013
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- At the core of the late Bishop John M. D'Arcy's "priestly heart" was the "intimate dialogue that is the life of prayer," said the homilist at the funeral Mass of the former head of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

"Prayer, daily, intimate conversation and communion with the Lord Jesus, the heart of the life of any believer, was central to (the) bishop's preaching, his work as a spiritual director, and his devotion to spiritual development and parish mission work," said Msgr. Michael Heintz.

Bishop D'Arcy, who had headed the diocese for 25 years before he retired in 2010, was remembered for his love of the priesthood and the love he had for the people of the diocese.

His funeral was celebrated Feb. 8 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. He died Feb. 3 at age 80.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, current head of the diocese, was the main celebrant of the funeral Mass. Other bishops from across the country and state who concelebrated were Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans and Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., a former Fort Wayne-South Bend auxiliary bishop.

"How many times, at the end of a long day, would he come over from his office to this beautiful cathedral he restored, to spend some quiet moments in prayer, alone, in silence, finding here, in the presence of the One he knew loved him, both solace and strength?" Msgr. Heintz recalled of the late bishop.

He spoke about how Bishop D'Arcy celebrated his first Mass at Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Brighton, Mass., "the church where he had been brought by his immigrant parents for baptism, where he was plunged into the mystery of Christ's dying and rising, a mystery that every celebration of the Eucharist makes present and tangible."

"This central act of his daily life as a priest was to format his every duty and pastoral task," said Msgr. Heintz, rector of St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.

Whether as his first assignment as a new priest, ordained in 1949 for the Boston Archdiocese, or as an Indiana bishop, "at the center of his priestly life was the Mass, that unparalleled encounter with Christ in word and sacrament" said the priest.

"For two millennia, the triad of dialogue, word and Eucharist has comprised the pattern of Catholic worship," he added.

To the end, Bishop D'Arcy exercised "the 'munus propheticum' entrusted to the successors of the apostles."

"Even from his sickbed, (the) bishop was teaching us, like Blessed John Paul II, the meaning of the Mass, the meaning of our baptism; he was teaching us how to die," Msgr. Heintz said. "A priest of Jesus Christ to the end, he offered himself back to God and he died with the same love and generosity with which he exercised his ministry."

He said Bishop D'Arcy "had a profound understanding of and reverence for the office of bishop -- rooted in his deep and obvious love for the priesthood -- as a sacred, indeed spousal, trust. And second, he was simultaneously and almost singularly devoid of pretense about or ambition for that office."

Msgr. Heintz also noted that the bishop was "genuinely interested in every person he met; he had an incredible memory for detail and a command of names."

At the close of the Mass, Bishop Rhoades incensed the bishop's body as the congregation sang "Come to His Aid."

Bishop Rhoades extended sympathy to D'Arcy family members and expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love and prayers for his predecessor.

In a private ceremony, Bishop D'Arcy's body was entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy was an exceptional priest as well as a wonderful friend, neighbor, Red Sox fan, and Brighton, MA native at heart. His parents home was directly across the street from the home in which my late wife, Theresa and I brought up our family. On his annual trips to Boston, he would often drop in to say hello to his neighbors from the “old home town”. He was  very proud of his Irish parents and the heritage and traditions they instilled in him and his siblings from childhood. His father’s home in Ireland was only a short distance from where Theresa was born and spent her childhood years before emigrating to  the U.S. so we had many conversations with the Bishop about Ireland while sitting on our front porch with a cup of tea.
In 2004, when the AOH honored Fr. Theodore Hesberg, the President Emeritus of Notre Dame University, Bishop D’Arcy joined us for the banquet in South Bend and spoke glowingly about his friend, Fr. Hesberg. Bishop D’Arcy will always be remembered in Boston, not only as a native son but also as a fearless spokesperson for the rights of children who suffered abuse at the hands of some Catholic clergymen.
In short, Bishop John M. D’Arcy epitomized all that a Catholic priest should be and will be sorely missed in both his home town of Boston and his adopted home in the Diocese of Ft. Wayne – South Bend.
Go ndeana Dia trocaire ar Easpag Sean D’Arcy agus go dtuga Dia suaimnheas siorai a anam.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

Monday, February 18, 2013

Eight year path to green cards for illegals in White House proposal

Plan leaked to USA Today calls for ‘lawful prospective immigrant visa’

 Niall O’Dowd, - Irish Central
Undocumented immigrants will be able to receive a green card after eight years of provisional status, according to the leaked White House document on President Obama’s immigration bill. There are an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S. The document was leaked to USA Today.
  • The new visa status would be called a “lawful prospective immigrant visa” which would be granted and would allow the person to work in the country and make brief visits out of the country until they gained a regular green card after eight years.
  • The Obama bill version leaked to USA Today does not have a cut off date by which the undocumented immigrant had to be in the country, a major factor for more recent Irish immigrants hoping to take advantage of the proposed bill.
  • Undocumented immigrants must come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay taxes and penalties before they will be eligible for a provisional legal status. Agricultural workers and those who entered the United States as children would be eligible for the same program.
  • Individuals must wait until the existing legal immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line to apply for lawful permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”), and ultimately United States citizenship. Consistent with current law, people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new health care law.
  • Those applying for green cards must pay their taxes, pass additional criminal background and national security checks, register for Selective Service (where applicable), pay additional fees and penalties, and learn English and U.S. civics. As under current law, five years after receiving a green card, individuals will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship like every other legal permanent resident.
  • Earned citizenship for DREAMers. Children brought here illegally through no fault of their own by their parents will be eligible for earned citizenship. By going to college or serving honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years, these children should be given an expedited opportunity to earn their citizenship. The President’s proposal brings these undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
  • Create administrative and judicial review. An individual whose provisional lawful status has been revoked or denied, or whose application for adjustment has been denied, will have the opportunity to seek administrative and judicial review of those decisions.
  • Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
It is very refreshing to see that this plan recognizes that it makes a great deal of sense to address the plight of the undocumented residents of this country before trying to pass legislation that would provide for the issuance of 10,500 annual temporary work permits that make no provisions for conversion to permanent residency status. Even though there appears to be a certain degree of bipartisan support in Congress for the concept of comprehensive immigration reform, there remains a great deal of work to be done before a final bill that addresses both the problems of the undocumented and the needs of this great nation can be written into law. Let’s hope and pray that Congress can keep their eye on this very long overdue and much needed goal and bring it to a mutually satisfactory and final conclusion.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America