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    No special deal, says US-Ireland Alliance founder

    By Noreen Bowden | November 16, 2007

    The founder of a prominent Irish-American group has spoken out against a special deal for the undocumented Irish in the US. Trina Vargo of the US-Ireland Alliance says that it is wrong for Irish-American campaigners to encourage the creation of a bi-lateral agreement that would provide special visas for Irish people.

    While advocating for comprehensive reform that would benefit the estimated 12 million undocumented of all nationalities, she says that singling out the Irish “would be morally wrong, could harm the US-Ireland relationship, damage the high regard in which Irish-Americans are held, and lead to divisive debate in the US between the Hispanic community and the Irish-American community”.

    She notes that the precedent that many campaigners cite – that of the Australian bilateral deal – in fact did not apply to undocumented immigrants. The deal was a trade agreement and featured temporary visas for specific professional skills.

    She argues that continuing immigration will not serve as that foundation for the US-Ireland relationship in the future. Instead, “it will be based more on innovation, imagination, cultivation and communication, than on immigration”.

    The US-Ireland Alliance describes itself as “a proactive, non-partisan organization dedicated to consolidating existing relations between the United States and Ireland – North and South – and building that relationship for the future”. Its most prominent activity is the Mitchell Scholarship programme, which brings over future American leaders for graduate study in Ireland.

    See the full article in the Irish Times (registration required).

    Visit the US-Ireland Alliance website.

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