Skip to comments.Immigration debate acquires an Irish brogue
Posted on 02/28/2007 11:12:23 AM PST by Graybeard58
SAN FRANCISCO In a cozy room above a Russian market and a Shanghai-style restaurant, an Irish nanny gently rocked an American baby.
When the nanny reveals that she hails from the Emerald Isle, she said, American citizens are usually warm and welcoming and many speak proudly of their own Irish heritage.
They don't suspect her secret. They'd never imagine that the San Francisco nanny feels a special bond with millions of others, most from Latin America or Asia, who are illegal immigrants just as she is.
"The Irish are a bit luckier. We speak English, and we tend to get the better jobs," said the $17-an-hour, full-time nanny. She requested anonymity because she feared she and her 8-year-old son could be located and deported.
Next month, in what some call a critical turning point for their cause, the nanny and more than 150 other undocumented Irish and supporters from California will travel to Washington, D.C., to join a rally on March 7 outside Congress.
Donning "Legalize the Irish" T-shirts, they are expected to join thousands to lobby Congress for an increase in work-based immigrant visas and enactment of a program for undocumented workers to earn legal status.
They have powerful allies on Capitol Hill, and they hope to woo more.
Once more numerous, undocumented Irish immigrants are today estimated at about 50,000 nationwide, a number that pales in comparison to Latin Americans, Chinese or Indians, but could be matched, for instance, by undocumented Polish immigrants.
A decline in Irish immigration in recent years is attributed to Ireland's unprecedented economic boom, the so-called "Celtic Tiger."
The European Union has invested billions in grants to develop infrastructure, and the Irish embrace of the high-tech industry is fueling economic growth.
But some Irish arrived in America on tourist visas before the emergence of the Celtic Tiger, staying because they found plenty of work here. Also flocking to the United States are those from less-prosperous Northern Ireland.
In 2005, out of a total of more than 1.1 million people who were granted legal residency, only 2,088 were Irish. Most were married to U.S. citizens or legal residents.
In a separate lottery competition that reserves 50,000 slots a year for people from around the world, only 160 slots were won by Irish in 2006.
I think the reasons illegals from Mexico and S. America don't learn English are a) they have no intention of remaining here -- they want to earn some money and then go back home; and b) they don't need to learn English to get by because it's to the point where almost everything is bilingual. There are Spanish radio and TV stations, food labels, and on and on.
As far as assimilation of others, I think Asians want to remain here and fit in, and Europeans don't have to do much to assimilate. Most of the time we don't even know they weren't born here until we speak to them.
What could possibly twist your arm? ;)
By the way, are you familar with Lydon's guesthouse in Cong? A Dublin gal was telling me about it last night. She recommended it if I am in Mayo.
Illegals are illegals. Irish or Mexican, they're illegal.
I live in Newport Beach, CA, and know tons of illegal Irish and Australian here.
So much for the "we're not prejudiced against Mexicans, we just want the laws enforced" crowd.
Sad thing about that is, if it were to come down to a war with Mexico it would be over in about 4 days...
Actually.. I'm not sure, I have never stayed in Cong, as it's only a 30 min drive from where I live.
Visited it plenty of times, though!
I hope there are no plans to invade Ireland... would hate to see the US get such a humiliating defeat! :-P
I could make a rude, stereotypical comment, but won't! ;-)
An Illegal is an illegal is an illegal. Deport them all. No amnesty for law breakers.
BTW, Bertie Ahern is harbouring terrorists:
The Irish also don't use the ERs as their primary care physician, insist on government services in Gaelic, mooch off the taxpayer, harbor reconquistadora intentions or demand affirmative action hiring preferences. If the number of illegal Mexicans were somewhat comparable to the number of illegal Irish, the whole thing would be a non-issue.
Thems the facts, jack, not racism.
I was just gonna say if we invaded right after the pubs closed...we'd be done and over with it in an hour. ;-)
I know that the term illegal immigrant is becoming politically incorrect; would Illegal Economic Refugees be better?
Sounds like we are just speaking in different terms. To me it's all one big flood. I want the water from my basement pumped out. I don't care what part of the basement it is in or which broken pipe it came from. I'll deport all that water as I find it, all with the same pump, and not save some water for later based on what pipe it came from.
Yes, but first we should change our policies about who gets in legally. We are legally admitting a huge number of immigrants from third world countries, many of whom have little chance of being self-sufficient here due to lack of education and lack of English, and some of whom have allegiances to fundamentalist brands of Islam and other cultural traits incompatible with assimilation into civilized US society. And meanwhile, well-educated, English-speaking Irish, who are very much in demand by employers here, are only being admitted in tiny dribbles.
I agree. The main influx of water would naturally be your first concern when attempting the repair though.