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    US campaigner has dim hopes for reform

    By Noreen Bowden | November 16, 2007

    Also in the Irish Times today is an interview with US immigration campaigner Frank Sharry, who talks to the paper’s migration correspondent, Ruadhan Mac Cormaic.

    Sharry is executive director of the National Immigration Forum, offers an extremely pessimistic view of the prospect for immigration reform, saying that it may be ten years before a solution could be politically viable. He says the situation developed into a ‘culture war’, and the debate became racialised and deeply polarised. He noted that vocal anti-immigrant groups had always existed, but “what has changed is that one of the two major parties in the country has embraced them”. He added, “And so now there’s going to be probably two or three election cycles in which this issue gets played out in the electoral arena”.

    Even if a Democratic president were to be elected, Sharry says, the issue is so “radioactive” that it would be unlikely that immigration reform would be addressed early in the term.

    Sharry actually said that he would support the Irish Government’s efforts to secure a bilateral agreement to benefit the Irish among the undocumented, though he doubts it will succeed:

    “I would be supportive of it, but I don’t see its viability, because people on the right will label it an amnesty and people on the left will say, ‘how come these white immigrants are going to get status rather than many others?'” .

    Read the entire interview on the Irish Times website (subscription required).

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