Senators John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), the current frontrunners for their parties’ 2008 presidential nominations, joined Senators Teddy Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y,) in rallying a group of illegal aliens who came to Washington, D.C., on March 8 as part of a lobbying effort funded by a foreign government to push for amnesty for illegal aliens.
McCain and Clinton both effusively greeted the illegal-alien lobbyists as if they had come to champion some great moral and constitutional cause.
“It is so heartening to see you here,” said Clinton. “You are really here on behalf of what America means, America’s values, America’s hopes.”
“You are doing what democracy is supposed to be all about, petitioning the government to right a wrong,” said McCain.
The lobbyists, part of an effort organized by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), were not petitioning their own government, of course. They were petitioning our government, using Irish government money to do it.
What is the ILIR? “The purpose of the new organization is to lobby for immigration reform at a local level, with a particular emphasis on the legislation proposed by Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy (the ‘Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act’),” says a January 23 press release put out by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. “This will include lobbying congressmen and senators in a bipartisan manner.”
The Irish government has launched an all-out effort for the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill because it would grant amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S. by converting them into legal guest workers. Funding ILIR is part of Ireland’s pro-McCain-Kennedy campaign.
“The ILIR has been established at a particularly critical time in the U.S. as the legislative debate on this issue enters an important phase,” Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said in the January 23 release. “The ILIR is throwing
its weight behind the McCain/Kennedy immigration reform bill. … The positive initiative taken by Senators McCain and Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, mirrored by Representatives [Jim] Kolbe [R.-Ariz.], [Jeff] Flake [R.-Ariz.], and [Luis] Gutierrez [D.-Ill.] in the House of Representatives would enable undocumented Irish people to participate in the life of their adopted country, free from fear and uncertainty.”
In debates on the floor of the Irish legislature, the Irish government has made clear that this amnesty provision is why they especially like McCain-Kennedy. “We believe this [McCain-Kennedy] remains the most attractive approach for the undocumented Irish, as it includes provisions which would allow undocumented people to apply initially for Temporary Residence Status, but with a route to Permanent Residency,” Noel Treacy, Ireland’s minister of European Affairs said in Ireland’s legislature on February 15. “We know that Senators Kennedy and McCain and other like-minded senators remain convinced that proposals that require undocumented people to return home before applying for re-entry to the U.S. are not practical and will not encourage the undocumented to come out of the shadows.”
In a February 22 debate in the Irish legislature, Foreign Minister Ahern said he had encouraged the creation of the illegal-alien lobbying organization in the U.S. “Deputies can be assured that in all my meetings with U.S. contacts, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and key congressional figures, I made known the support of the government … for the approach favoured by Senators Kennedy and McCain,” said Ahern. “Their bill has also been strongly endorsed by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, a group established in December to mobilize grassroots support within the Irish community in the U.S. for immigration reform. I welcome the establishment of this organization. I encouraged the formation of such an organization and recently approved a grant of €30,000 towards its operational expenses.”
The Irish Times, published in Dublin, trumpeted the fact that “illegals” had rallied on Capitol Hill with McCain, Clinton, Kennedy and Schumer. One Times story on March 9 was headlined: “‘Illegals’ lobby for right to stay in U.S.”
“Capitol Hill became a sea of green and white yesterday as thousands of undocumented Irish immigrants came out of the shadows for immigration reform,” said the Times. “They were rewarded with appearances from some of the most influential figures in Congress, including the two front-runners to succeed President Bush—Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton.”
Another item in the Irish Times, with the headline “Irish rally to press for legal status in America,” said: “More than 2,400 undocumented Irish immigrants and their supporters rallied in Washington yesterday in support of an immigration reform bill that would allow them to remain in the U.S. legally.” This report further noted that “Senators Kennedy, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer addressed the demonstrators, who wore white T-shirts with the slogan ‘Legalize the Irish.’”
“There has never been a presence like we’ve had today,” Clinton told the crowd of illegal aliens, according to the Irish Times.
“This kind of reception is enough to make a guy want to run for President of the United States,” said McCain, after the illegal aliens gave him a standing ovation.
Clinton and McCain may think their pandering will appeal to Irish-American voters. But when they run in the United States of America in 2008, they just might find that their fawning words for a foreign-government-funded lobby that flouts U.S. immigration law sounded more like fighting words to many plain, old-fashioned, red-blooded voters—even if they happen to be proud, law-abiding Irish-Americans.