The most recent ploy of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform is to engage in the sort of squishy redefinition of words we've come to expect from anti-border extremists: ILIR seeks legality, not amnesty, for undocumented Irish (Irish Echo, April 23, 2008).
This issue appears to be more pressing now. The Economist recently warned that the weakening Irish property market could topple the country's economy because of Ireland's dependence on construction-related revenue. Unemployment in the Republic is higher than it has been in a decade, while the first quarter's increase in unemployment was the worst since 1975. Thousands of construction jobs are also at risk in the North because of the downturn in building activity.The idea that America should award "legality" (or whatever the verbal fiction du jour is) to illegal Irish because of hiccups in Ireland's economy is total tomfoolery.
This is all the more reason to seek a legal pathway for Irish immigration. From the very beginning, the ILIR aligned ourselves with the Kennedy/McCain bill, which sought to create a conditional path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants. Kennedy/McCain did not promote amnesty, and neither did we. We have never sought amnesty for the undocumented Irish. We sought legality.
Ireland is now a major immigrant-receiving country (particularly from Eastern Europe — leading to a multicultural Dublin) and if there are not enough jobs for Irish, then the Irish immigration pests should petition Ireland to take better care of its own. We have more than enough unwanted foreigners here in America already.
In fact, Ireland is so prosperous that its neighborhood bars are closing — a curious concept, but that's what the Washington Post says: In Affluent New Ireland, Rural Pubs Are So Yesterday. Obviously, illegal Irish should get on home to straighten out their confused brethren.