With all kinds of Americans celebrating St. Patrick's Day last week, the news media have been almost aflutter with the storyline that the one pro-immigration bill that may be able to get by grassroots opposition this year is one that adds thousands of special new work visas for workers from Ireland. NumbersUSA President Roy Beck has been nearly the lone voice in public opposition, but his quotes have shown up widely in newspapers and radio across the country.
So, it wasn't surprising that CNN invited Roy on its national morning cable show to talk for several minutes about how silly -- and destructive -- the Irish worker bill would be.
Watch Roy's appearance here. . .
There are actually two bills offered in the Senate that would extend a new class of work visas to Irish nationals - S.2005, the Irish Immigration Recognition and Encouragement Act, introduced by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and S.1983, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Sen. Schumer's bill includes the phrase "High-Skilled Immigrants" in the title, and Sen. Brown's bill is also being touted as a bill for high-skilled immigrants, but the legal definition of high-skilled is not quite as impressive as it sounds. In reality, a foreign national only needs a bachelor's degree to be considered high-skilled or a high school diploma or its equivalent and a few years of work experience.
Then, there's this quote from a Boston businessman that was included in a CNN report on Sen. Brown's bill:
The Irish economy crashed in 2008. People have come and overstayed visas. The Irish-American vote here is substantial. This would be welcome relief and a recognition of the strong ties between Massachusetts and Ireland.
Meehan is basically saying that Sen. Brown's bill would provide a way for illegal aliens of Irish nationality currently living in the United States to legalize their status. In other words, it's an amnesty. Period.
Sen. Brown had hoped to have his bill through the Senate by St. Patrick's Day. But NumbersUSA activists were part of a counter-offensive of faxes and phone calls to all 100 U.S. Senators that prevented that from happening.
With 22 million Americans who can't find a full-time job, Congress should be finding ways to reduce foreign worker visas, not finding ways to create more.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content and Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Mar 23rd 2012 @ 10:35pm EDT