Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers
  
July 22, 2009
Newsletter
 
In This Issue
Immigration Bill Expected by Labor Day
News from the Irish Immigration Centers
Detentions and Deportations
DV Lottery Results
Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links
Greetings!

The news that we will have an immigration bill in Congress in the fall is encouraging. Unfortunately, along with news that Congress is finally ready to address the problems with current immigration system, comes the loud anti-immigrant din designed to make everyone forget the contributions of immigrants to the economy and to their communities.

Throughout the summer, and in the fall after a bill is introduced, we will all need to be prepared to get into the trenches and take action if we want to make sure that the reasonable and rational voices are listened to. The fair minded citizens who want justice and who want Congress to work out a sensible solution to this problem are in the majority but to date they have not been heard. Now is the time.

Slán go foill,
Sheila
 Immigration Bill Expected by Labor Day

There is quite a buzz on Capitol Hill on immigration issues, some good and some not so good. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, announced plans to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill by Labor Day this year. We need to be prepared because along with any positive legislation will come a flurry of negative legislation.

Senator Schumer outlined his principles for immigration reform which will guide the legislation he plans to introduce in the Senate. These guidelines place a major emphasis on enforcement and "cracking down on illegal immigration". This includes a proposal to introduce a biometric-based employer verification system-with tough enforcement and auditing. See the ACLU discussion of the problems with this here.

Yesterday's Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security hearing was reported to be remarkably one sided with all those who testified calling for a universal biometrics program that would require every single worker in the United States to provide some kind of DNA (fingerprint, iris scan) in order to work. No testimony was heard on the cost, problems or arguments against this proposal.

There was some bad news in the context of the Homeland Security appropriations bill. The Senate passed five immigration-related amendments and only one of them was positive.  For a complete roundup of last week's happenings check out the National Immigration Forum's website.

Take Action Now!

The only way to achieve positive immigration reform is to let your legislators know what you think. 
  1. Send a fax at www.reformimmigrationforamerica.org President Obama and Congress need to know that when the time comes to stand up for what's right, their supporters are going to be just as loud and organized.
  2.  Between August 3 and September 4, make sure that your voice is heard. Make an in-district visit to your representative and senators.
News from the Irish Immigration Centers


The New York Irish Center said goodbye to Executive Director Liz Kenny last month. We wish Liz the very best of luck in her new endeavors. The new Director of the Center is Paul Finnegan. Paul was the Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and a founding member of the CIIC before leaving to work in the private sector. We are delighted to welcome Paul back to the non-profit world.

The Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia has recently appointed Dublin born Siobhan Lyons as their full time Executive Director. We extend a warm welcome to Siobhan who prior to accepting this position worked at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

Orla Kelleher from the Aisling Irish Community Center and some of the immigrants themselves detail the challenges facing the new wave of Irish immigrants who are arriving in the US in a recent New York Times article titled "As Ireland's Boom Ends, Job Seekers Revive a Well-Worn Path to New York"

The Senior Helpline USA is up and running with volunteers from the Aisling Irish Community Center, the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and the New York Irish Center
.  Call the toll free number Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
1-877-997-5777

Seattle's Irish Immigrant Support Group
is planning an expanded program for the coming year. They will be hosting a series of lunch-time social gatherings for Irish Seniors in the Seattle area. The next Irish Senior's Luncheon is scheduled for Saturday September 19. Irish Consul General Gery Staunton has confirmed that he will be attending. If you know an Irish Senior in the Seattle area who would like to be invited, please send the name and contact information to lunch@irishclub.org

The Aisling Irish Community Center Is organizing a mass for the families and friends of sudden death/accident and suicide victims lost over the years in the Irish community in New York. It will take place on Friday, July 31st at 8:00 pm in St Barnabus Church, The Bronx (Woodlawn). Please share this information who may be interested in attending.

Detentions and Deportations

The CIIC recently had a meeting with Ambassador Michael Collins in Washington DC in June to request the assistance of the Irish Government in protecting the rights of our citizens who are detained. Geri Garvey (Irish Apostolate USA), Fr. Michael Leonard (Chicago Irish Immigrant Support Center) and Sheila Gleeson (Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers) outlined our organizations grave concern about the violation of rights, the poor conditions and bad treatment in prisons and the length of time immigrants are being detained.

The Ambassador expressed both concern and interest in the issues we raised. In a letter to the CIIC this week he indicated that the Embassy has raised the issue of the lengthy detentions with ICE and will continue to follow up with them. The CIIC working with other groups will continue to vigorously pursue these issues.

The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC) has developed a Detentions Rights Handbook containing information to assist Irish Centers and the general public to understand what happens when an immigrant is detained by Immigration Customs & Enforcement. You can read it on the CIIC website 

The Obama administration this week moved to push ahead with controversial Bush era initiative
s. The Department of Homeland Security announced plans to expand the 287(g) program, which enlists local law-enforcement agencies to find and detain undocumented immigrants. This program has been plagued with controversy and accusations of racial profiling as well as having many opponents in the law enforcement community because of its negative impact on community policing. See the New York Times editorial  More Immigration Non-Solutions

A recent case in the Irish community reported by the Irish Pastoral Center in Boston should give us all cause for concern. A young Irish immigrant with a valid visa was held by police after a reported incident. Instead of being charged and arraigned he was handed over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and sent to a detention center/jail where he was held for several days before he was released.

On a more positive note we are expecting two Detention Reform bills to be introduced in Congress in the coming weeks prior to the August recess.
DV Lottery Results
 
The DV lottery results are out and this year applicants, in addition to receiving their results via the mail, can do an online status check to see if their applications were successful.
Entrants (who previously completed online DV entry through the official website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov) should be able to check the status of their entry through the e-DV website.  Applicants will need to use their own confirmation page information from the time of their entry (October 2, 2008, to December 1, 2008), to check the status and to find out if their Diversity Visa Lottery entry was or was not selected. To check the status of an application go to: http://dvlottery.state.gov/ESC/

Applicants registered for the DV-2010 program were selected at random from over 13.6 million qualified entries received during the application period in 2008. This year Ireland secured a total of 198 "winners". This is up a little from last year but still a very small number. There were 167 from the 26 counties (132 last year) and 31 from Northern Ireland (35 in 2009).

Winners will need to act promptly. Those who are living, or who have lived, in the United State should contact their nearest Irish Center to make sure that they are eligible and to receive advice and assistance in completing the forms. Go to the CIIC website for contact information on Irish Centers in the USA.

Fraud Warning
Each year thousands people are taken in by DV Lottery scams. Please be aware that:
  •  DV lottery winners were notified by mail between May and July and they will be provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. 
  • Those selected are NOT notified by email.
  • Those individuals NOT selected will NOT receive any notification so if you receive a notice please verify that is is legitimate on the official website.
  • Read the fraud Warning on the US Department of State Website. 
  • Currently the DV program is closed. No applications are being accepted.
  • There is only one official DV lottery site www.dvlottery.gov
The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC) is a national umbrella group for all of the Irish Immigration Centers in the US. The CIIC was established in 1996 to promote the welfare of Irish immigrants in the US at a national level. 
Sheila Gleeson
Executive Director 
Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers



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