Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers - December 2010

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Dear member,

During my last days as Executive Director of the CIIC I have been reflecting on my 5 years working at a national level with immigrant groups. I want to take this opportunity to express my admiration and thanks to the Irish Centers across the country who work tirelessly to help immigrants in need of assistance. 


I value the associations and friendships that I have made during my 15 years working with immigrants. I am looking forward new challenges but will miss the many gifted and committed advocates I have worked with over the years.


While my new job will not involve day to day work with immigrants I plan to continue to to be a strong and active advocate for changes to the immigration system. I look at the new wave of young and talented immigrants leaving Ireland and it reminds me of the time over twenty five years ago when my husband, my daughter and I made the journey to Boston. I continue to hope that today's immigrants, who have already contributed so much to this country, will have the opportunity to legalize their status as we did. I know that as Irish and Irish Americans we can help to make this happen and I urge everyone to renew and redouble your efforts to make reasonable and rational changes to an immigration system that is not working.


It has been a joy to work with you all and I wish all my friends at the CIIC and far beyond the very best. Goodbye and very best wishes to all for a peaceful holiday season.


Beannachtaí na Nollaig diobh go léir,

Immigration Reform


The defeat in the Senate of the Dream Act last week dealt a harsh blow to the many young people who have grow up here in the US who would have had a bright future going to school, getting a job or joining the army had the Senate passed the bill. The future of young immigrants is once again put on hold until our leaders pluck up the political courage to do the right thing.


Secure Communities Program


ICE continues to increase the pace of deportations and expand the reach of the Secure Communities Program. This program allows state and local police to check the fingerprints of an individual they are booking into a jail against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration databases. If there is a "hit" in an immigration database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is automatically notified, even if the person has not been convicted of any criminal act.


Massachusetts is the latest state to agree to implement this program. Governor Deval Patrick's about face on this issue surprised and disappointed immigrants across the state. The Secure  Communities program has been fraught with problems since it's inception. It purports to target immigrants who have committed crimes but nationally, almost 80% of those deported have not been "Level 1" violators.  In Boston, over half of those deported have not been guilty of any criminal behavior whatsoever. The program is also criticized  for decreasing levels of trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.
News From Ireland


This year again saw the introduction of budget measures that spared very few residents in Ireland. The 2010 Budget was described by commentators in Ireland and around the world in unusually harsh terms as €4 billion was removed from the country's national deficit. It included pay cuts for public sector workers and a 4% cut in social welfare payments, excluding the state old age pension as well as cuts in the Child benefit.  


Travel Warnings

Every year as we approach the holidays, and people make plans to travel home there is need to sound a word of caution. Increased enforcement has meant that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) begins removal proceedings against hundreds of returning legal immigrants because of prior criminal convictions or because their travels trigger the unlawful presence 3/10 year bars.


Please contact an Irish Center or an experience immigration attorney before you travel if you are and LPR (green card holder) and have had prior arrests no matter how small they are or how long ago they occurred.


Sheila Gleeson
Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers

Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers | 551 Washington Street, Suite 4 | Boston | MA | 02135