With hundreds of Hibernian Divisions, that are de facto Irish Cultural centers, in most major cities, as well as towns and parishes across the US, the AOH has been in the unique position of offering aid to Irish immigrants and immigration efforts from informed, connected and established members of the community since our inception 175 years ago. The past 25 years have witnessed both the Irish Immigration Reform Movement and Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform turning to our leadership and members for the vital connectivity that we have to our legislators on local, state and national levels. For it is the Divisions, County, State and National AOH that these legislators seek to associate with to reach Irish American support. Indeed, legislators and their aides are at times members of the AOH/LAOH.
The AOH is grateful for the efforts of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, through its Embassy and Consulates and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers for enabling the conferences for the AOH, Coalition, Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, Boston Irish and ILIR that acted as clearinghouses of ideas that lead to the great collaborative and nonpartisan effort towards attaining the Irish E3 Visa Bills.
We also thank Bruce Morrison and ILIR for arranging vital meetings with the White House and were happy to reciprocate by introducing our states’ legislators to Morrison and the Irish Lobby. This bill will remedy many of the future flow immigration issues between Ireland and the US, but our work on the undocumented remains ahead of us. The AOH is working everyday with the Centers and DFA on Irish immigrants facing incarceration, detention, extradition and deportation, as well as our own work with Thar Saile in their long struggle. The AOH efficiently fields inquiries on status adjustment, dual citizenship, retiring to Ireland , pension, legal and a variety of matters and connect people with the help they need.
With a network of AOH members across the US, we will continue to work with our legislators, DFA, the Centers, ILIR, the Celts and Boston Irish and others to continue this good work. AOH members are becoming more familiar every day with the Centers and will help them when the really hard work begins for them, the job of helping the next wave of legal Irish immigrants live, work and become vital members of the rich cultural exchange that has always existed between our two great nations.
Seamus Boyle Dan Dennehy
President, National Board National Immigration Chairman