Recently a bipartisan group of Senators with broad diversity in terms of seniority and geography (known as the Gang of Eight) reached agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. The agreement is an 844 page bill, that I doubt many have read but buried on P. 734 is a deal to add Ireland to Australia in receiving an allotment of E-3 Visas. Senator Schumer (NY-D) had a provision inserted that would give Ireland up to an annual 10,500 visas, that would require the equivalent of a high school education or two years of training within the last 5 years.
Schumer said that the provision would right 1965 law that ended bias in Latin America, Asian and African immigrants but inadvertently made it difficult for Irish to obtain visas despite their strong cultural ties to the US.
The bill, as one might expect, is loaded with goodies for the state of the various Gang of Eight, Michael Bennett of Colorado got visas for more ski resort staff, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina got more visas for the meat industry (big in his state) and Marco Rubio is getting help for the cruise industry, big in Florida.
Pork fat adds to weight of immigration bill - Richmond Community Issues | Examiner.com
Of course not everyone is pleased
Dinkar Jain: Senator Schumer: Why Pork Up the Immigration Bill?
It is disillusioning when senators of the stature of Mr. Charles Schumer (D-NY) resort to wrongheaded, discriminatory, and questionable policy for the sake of narrow political interests even in safe Senate seats (in this case the senator is proposing a special Ireland E-3 VISA to appease the Irish lobby in New York).Currently, the E-3 visa is only available (many argue unfairly) to Australians.Is this what we need in the U.S. at a time of excessive unemployment -- high school graduates or less from Ireland?
As per the bill, it only applied to the Republic of Ireland. Previously, Northern Ireland was carved out of the UK for the purposes of the visa applications. Details on P. 734
Australia got this deal some years ago, but it was an easier to pass, as the fact that Australia had supported the US in every war was used to sell the deal to a skeptical Congress.
If the deal gets nitpicked, the whole thing could unravel. Let’s hope it gets passed and not just for the Irish.