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    Morrison praises commitment of Taoiseach to undocumented

    By Noreen Bowden | July 21, 2008

    Former US congressman Bruce Morrison has praised Taoiseach Brian Cowan’s commitment to and understanding of undocumented immigrants in the US. He went so far as to say, “I’m very heartened by his analysis, which I think is spot on.”

    Mr Morrison, a hero to many in the Irish-American community because of his work in securing visas for the undocumented in the 1980s and 1990s, was interviewed by the Sunday Independent during Mr Cowan’s visit to New York.

    When queried on the prospects for a positive solution for the undocumented Irish in the US, Mr Morrison was upbeat, and noted that the ultimate solution may include a requirement to have the immigrants leave the US and reapply for visas to return.

    “There will be a solution. The question is how soon and in what ways. One of the focal points of the work, which certainly the Taoiseach understands, and is committed to, is leaving and coming back, a model which worked before with Morrison visas and Donnelly visas. When one leaves, one is no longer an illegal. So opportunities for the waiver of past violations in the context of new visa opportunities is certainly something that would continue to be part of the advocacy”.

    He also noted that the solution for the Irish may lie in either comprehensive immigration reform that would assist immigrants of all nations, or as part of a specific solution for the Irish.

    Mr Morrison also said that Mr Cowan favours a ‘three-legged stool’ approach, which would result in

    • opportunities for Americans to come to Ireland to work
    • enhanced opportunities for Irish citizens to work in the US legally and
    • a resolution to the undocumented Irish in America.

    Mr Morrison praised Mr Cowan’s knowledge of the situation at a meeting with Irish immigrant activists:

    “Well, he was in a room full of people who don’t have a habit of staying silent, but he made a presentation up front which really made people feel he didn’t need a lot of education. He just needed to be affirmed in what he was saying.”

    Similarly, the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has also praised the Taoiseach following a meeting with him in New York. “What we like about the Taoiseach is he understands the Irish community,” said Ciaran Staunton, vice-chair of the group.

    Read the articles on the Irish Independent’s website:

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