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Deenihan calls on AOH to support US Immigration Reform efforts


Minister of State at Departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan TD today addressed the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Convention in St Louis, Missouri.

Minister Deenihan stressed that US immigration reform remains a key issue for the Irish Government:

‘The issue of U.S. immigration reform has been and will remain a key priority for the Irish Government here in the United States.

Our objectives are to achieve some relief for the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish here, as well as for their families and friends at home in Ireland, and to make legal migration between Ireland and America easier.’

Minister Deenihan thanked the national leaderships of the AOH and Ladies AOH for their help in underlining the point that Ireland has a stake in immigration reform.

Speaking about the current status of immigration reform the Minister stated:

‘We have all been disappointed that greater progress has not yet proved possible in Congress. But I firmly believe that none of the work undertaken to date by the Government, the AOH and others from within Irish America has been in vain.

AOH support, involvement and engagement have been crucial and will be even more so when further opportunities next arise in Congress, as they will surely do. For now, we are aware that President Obama and his Administration are looking at the scope for action on immigration via executive authority. ’

The Minister also briefed the AOH on the Government’s plans to bring forward a new Diaspora strategy in the autumn:

“The Government does a lot of things well in its engagement with the Diaspora, and I want to bring those things together in a coherent strategy for the future.

The Irish Diaspora is diverse; Irish America is an indispensable part of the Diaspora and the AOH is an indispensable part of Irish America. I want to hear views on how we can deepen our engagement with Irish America.”