late June, the Irish Government's lobbying surrogate,
the Irish Legal Immigration Reform (ILIR) descended
on Washington to promote the U.S. Senate's emasculating
immigration legislation the Reid-Kennedy bill, AKA
the terrorist accommodating "Dissolve America
Act". Unsurprisingly, ILIR is an amalgamation
of the various factions of the unrepresentative,
though disproportionately vocal, Irish Left, with
unfortunate deluded Irish illegals being dragged
along. The group first saw the light of day thanks
to a healthy infusion of Euros courtesy of Irish
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern. Subsequently, the
entity has been sustained by further Celtic Tiger
largesse. It enjoys the enthusiastic support of
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny,
various other members of the Oireachtas, Sinn Fein
and the SDLP.
ILIR's chairman is Niall O'Dowd, a sycophantic apparatchik
of the Leftwing limousine elite and publisher of
the Leftist weekly tabloid, the Irish Voice, a publication
of ever decreasing circulation. If there really
are 50,000 undocumented Irish, as ILIR claims, O'Dowd
should be really worried! Empirical evidence suggests
that they are most certainly not reading his weekly
propaganda sheet, as evidenced by the piles of Irish
Voices that remain unbought on the newsstands. Of
course, the Voice, long a hybrid of the National
Inquirer, the Sunday World and a fawning Kennedy/Clinton
fan mag, has never been a beacon of intellectualism.
implicitly nominating Niall O'Dowd to woo Irish
America, the Irish Government and broader political
establishment, have revealed an appalling naiveté
and detachment. O'Dowd has earned the rebuke and
garnered the ire of many in the Irish American community
over the last 20 years. He came to prominence through
his attempts to denigrate and undermine the organizations
and institutions of Irish America including the
AOH, the Emerald Societies, the County Associations,
the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, Friends of
Irish Freedom and, indeed, the Irish Immigration
Reform Movement (IIRM), back when there really was
an immigration crisis with a capital "C".
Niall is the brother of Fergal O'Dowd, a Fine Gael
TD from County Louth.
ILIR's vice chairman is long time Sinn Fein representative,
Ciaran Staunton. In fairness to Ciaran, he was one
of the few standing in the Bearna Baol advocating
for the Northern Irish nationalist community long
before it was de rigueur to do so. In the late 1980s,
he was instrumental in the establishment and organization
of the IIRM in Boston. It is unfortunate that he
should lend his talents to this charade. Ciaran
is also Niall O'Dowd's brother -in-law. A new perspective
on "keeping it in the family".
of the growing rapprochement between Sinn Fein and
the Southern Irish political establishment, increasingly
nurtured by a shared anti-Americanism, ILIR can
be counted on to assertively use the Celtic Tiger's
munificence to promote Dublin's Leftist Europhilic
line. "A weird raggle taggle of Shinners and
Free Staters," is how a prominent Irish American
recently described the group.
to be expected, in a wartime nation, which is constantly
reminded of its vulnerability by almost daily headlines
proclaiming terrorist plots uncovered and foiled,
ILIR has had little success in advancing its Left
wing agenda. A center piece of its recent machinations
on Capitol Hill was, yet, another attempt to embarrass
the powerful chairman of the U.S. House's Homeland
Security Committee, Congressman Peter King of Long
Island. King, of course, has long been a staunch
advocate of the Irish American political agenda.
As to be expected, he had declined to meet with
the Leftist group.
and ILIR enthusiast Sean Crowe, a Sinn Fein TD from
Dublin, whipped the crowd of mostly deluded illegals
into an anti- King frenzy with Crowe telling the
jeering crowd that "Pete King will be getting
a message from Sinn Fein . . ." Notwithstanding
the impropriety of a foreign parliamentarian waltzing
into Washington and upbraiding the chairman of our
congressional Homeland Security Committee, scholars
of Irish history, and, no doubt, persons living
in certain areas of the Northern Irish statelet,
are keenly aware that a phrase such as "getting
a message from Sinn Fein" can have connotations
much more profound and sinister than the simple
meaning of the words imply. Having spent the last
decade working closely with the various protective
agencies of the U.S. Government, and becoming familiar
with their mindset, I can only imagine how vigilant,
super sensitive, gung ho federal agents might have
interpreted Deputy Crowe's remarks.
ILIR's repeated broadsides, the vibes emanating
from Pete King's office are not good. The Chairman
lost over 150 constituents and friends on September
11. In recent months, he has publicly revealed his
displeasure with the anti -Americanism that is rampant
across the spectrum of the Celtic Tiger's political
and media establishments, AKA "Dublin 4".
He is particularly disappointed at the way his commonsensical
legislation, H.R. 4437, has been negatively distorted
in the Irish American community by ILIR and in the
Celtic Tiger by "Dublin 4". In March,
former Minister Michael Woods, TD, chairman of the
Dail's foreign affairs committee, described H.R.
4437 as an "overreaction" to Sept 11.
Imagine, three thousand Americans - an equivalent
to the entire fatality list from the 30 year Northern
Irish conflict - are murdered in the space of three
hours on one sunny September morning and the Dail
thinks that King's legislation is an "overreaction".
The persistent sniping from ILIR could well be definitive.
Suffice it to say that it may be a while before
the Chairman chooses to expose his ears to a lilting
speaks of "a rift" developing between
King and the Irish American Community. "Rift"?
What "rift"? Any "rift" exists
only in O'Dowd's imagination along, of course, with
50,000 illegals. Consistent polling and empirical
evidence indicates that the Irish American Community,
just like the U.S. population at large, believes
that Congressman King is doing an excellent job
in protecting our nation. Irish American cops, firefighters
and federal agents, those who are on the frontline
of the war against Radical Islam, greatly appreciate
his efforts. It is refreshing to see an elected
representative taking a principled stand and actually
advancing the interests of the American people.
thirty states and numerous local municipalities,
tired of waiting for Congress to enact, and the
federal government to implement, meaningful and
substantial immigration enforcement have begun to
institute their own anti - illegal immigration efforts
from denying driver's licenses to illegals, to penalizing
employers who hire them and landlords who rent to
them. In recent weeks, the chairman of the GOP's
Senate Conference, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania
has introduced his own immigration bill into the
Senate, the Secure the Borders First Act. Santorum's
legislation is not unlike the King/Sensenbrenner
bill, H.R. 4437, which passed the House before Christmas.
A likely scenario is that, with an election pending,
the Senate will pass Santorum's legislation. It
will then be easily reconciled with the similar
House legislation in a House/ Senate conference,
and subsequently enacted. Conveniently, on the eve
of an election, Congress will give the U.S. electorate
what it craves, the first steps towards genuine
security on the borders and in the heartland.
a debate in which the electorate recoils in horror
at large numbers, such as 12 million illegals here,
and 60 million there, many GOP/conservative legislators
will tell you, off the record, that the undocumented
Irish are not controversial. They are few in numbers
- more like 5,000 (if even that) than 50,000 - speak
English, are well educated and skilled, are producers
not beneficiaries and assimilate effortlessly. A
concept that had been considered in Irish GOP/conservative
circles was for some provision akin to an annual
quota of 5,000 immigrant visas for Ireland, which
could have been covertly buried by our congressional
friends in the boiler plate of any ultimate immigration
bill. Such a move, of course, would have required
political dexterity, discretion and stealth. Nevertheless,
precedents such as the Donnelly Visa program, the
Morrison Visa set - a - side and the recent Australian
visa deal exist for such a concept. The Irish American
Community does not have to conspire in the disintegration
of the United States, in order to legalize a few
thousand undocumented Irish. However, thanks to
the antics of ILIR, in attracting the unwanted harsh
glare of publicity and in alienating our friends
in Congress, this window of opportunity is probably
now firmly closed.
is no such a thing as the generic immigrant group.
Each one is different. Some, like the Irish, speak
English, enjoy a high standard of education, are
very well motivated and assimilate effortlessly.
Others, not so. ILIR, by merging the undocumented
Irish into the monolithic block of illegal aliens,
who may not share some, or, indeed, all of these
characteristics, has severely diluted these natural
advantages in the public's perception. In aligning
the undocumented Irish with anti American, Leftist
groups like La Raza and ANSWER, and entrenching
them firmly on the wrong side of the issue, ILIR
has probably ended the subtle, benevolent relationship,
which generations of undocumented Irish have enjoyed
with the U.S. political establishment since the
Kennedy Immigration Act of 1965. In particular,
ILIR has alienated the Irish American community,
which having suffered disproportionately on 9/11,
understands completely the need for commonsensical,
comprehensive security. Irish Americans have difficulty
understanding undocumented Irish that, on the one
hand, zealously propose themselves as potentially
loyal American citizens, but, on the other, actively
oppose legislation, which would implement commonsensical
security measures and institute rationalism in our
are two possible explanations for ILIR's conduct.
One is that its failure to read the mood of the
nation - with over 80% of Americans clamoring for
meaningful security on our borders and the preservation
of our cultural, economic, environmental and intellectual
integrity through assertive and meaningful enforcement
of our immigration laws - and the nuances of U.S.
political culture, has been appalling. Certainly,
there is substance to support this hypothesis. The
other, less charitable explanation is that the group
has a much broader agenda than legalizing the Irish.
Could the Irish illegals be only a means to an end?
The acceptable face, the palatable thin edge of
the illegal immigration wedge? Perhaps ILIR, together
with anti - American organizations like La Raza
and ANSWER, with whom it has made common cause,
is an enthusiastic element in the extreme Left's
design to obliterate the Judeo Christian, Anglo
Saxon culture of the United States.
But what of ILIR's enablers, the Irish political
establishment? Its failure to curb its progeny is
just mind boggling. In this game, silence is interpreted
as complicity. Why are Irish politicos, of all hues
and stripes, so blatantly inserting themselves into
U.S. domestic affairs to push the U.S. Senate's
debilitating Reid - Kennedy legislation, which consistent
polling indicates that over 80% of Americans - and
by extrapolation Irish Americans - realize will
emasculate this nation? Understandably, Americans
- especially Irish Americans - are skeptical of
any of "Uncle Teddy's" work products.
In 1965, he, and his ilk, got us into this mess
in the first place!
a decade ago, as Ireland was been increasingly sucked
into the vortex of Europe, it was suggested that
the country's historical and natural affinity with
the United States would eventually come under strain
in the tug of war between Washington and Brussels.
Ireland would eventually have to choose "Boston
or Berlin". The recent anti - U.S. machinations
of the Irish political establishment indicate that
the choice has probably been copper fastened.
our borders and interior are effectively secured,
the American people will turn their attention towards
the implementation of an admissions system that
has as its primary objective our nation's cultural,
economical, environmental, intellectual and security
interests. Within that rational context, immigration
will be a zero sum game with a finite number of
Green Cards to go around. As Irish Americans our
objective is to ensure that the Irish obtain their
requisite share. However, as citizens of this great
nation, we must also ensure that reform will address
the real concerns and priorities of the United States,
not the fantasy agenda of the Left. Fortunately
these objectives are perfectly reconcilable.
Hurley is president of the Regular Republican Club,
30th AD, Inc., in Woodside, Queens, New York City.
He is a member of the Queens County Executive of
the Republican Party. In 2003, he was the GOP/Conservative
candidate for the New York City Council for the
26th CD. He is currently president of the County
Cork Association of New York, one of the largest
Irish American organizations in the Tri State area.
In 1987, Hurley was a co founder of the Irish Immigration
Reform Movement, a grassroots lobbying organization
that secured thousands of Green Cards for the then
burgeoning illegal Irish community.