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    NY Times article examines Irish lobbying efforts

    By admin | December 11, 2006

    The Irish movement for immigration reform is covered in an opinion piece that appears in both Saturday’s New York Times and today’s International Herald Tribune. Titled “How green was my rally”, the article by New York Times editorial board member Lawrence Downes takes a critical look at the Irish lobbying effort.

    Downes quotes Senator Charles Schumer as telling a rally of Irish in the Bronx, “The more Irish there are in America, the better we all are”. He notes that high-profile politicians regularly visit declining Irish-American neighborhoods, with the 50,000 Irish among the 12 million illegal immigrants in the US commanding a relatively large amount of attention.

    Downes calls for a sense of inclusion in his concluding paragraphs:

    [Schumer] is far from the only politician to be drawn to the white, English-speaking sliver of the immigration problem. That fondness for Irish audiences helps reinforce the odd sense of solipsism surrounding the Irish immigrant lobby. When you hear the chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, Niall O’Dowd, vow to fight “to get what is rightfully ours” — more visas for the Irish — you can’t help wondering how quickly such words would get a Latino banished to the militant fringe.

    “We Are America” is the Latinos’ and Asians’ cry. The well-organized Irish don’t feel the need to say that. Their slogan, on T-shirts and the Irish Lobby’s Web site, is blunt: “Legalize the Irish.”

    The Irish have a just cause, but I only wish they and their many friends would preach the gospel of immigration reform in a bigger tent. It is, after all, every immigrant group’s fate to start out in this country unloved, as the Irish are only too eager to remind us.

    The Sunday New York Times, where this article first appeared, is one of the most influential newspapers in the country.

    See the article in the New York Times or the International Herald Tribune

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