This weekend, our allies at the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform held a meeting in Virginia to plot their strategy to push reform. Via John Stanton at Buzzfeed:
Immigration activists may have found an unusual ally in the daunting bid to convince Republicans that comprehensive immigration reform must happen: the nation’s 40 million Irish-Americans.
“We can be the generation that rejuvenates the Irish-American community, or we can be the generation that lets the Irish-American community die,” Ciaran Staunton, president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, bluntly warned 30 business and community leaders gathered in the back room of Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub.
This wasn’t the first meeting Staunton and other Irish immigration leaders have held: Staunton has set up similar campaigns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and North and South Carolina. Irish-American leaders have also been making a push on Capitol Hill, meeting with key Republican leaders like Rep. Paul Ryan to make the case for comprehensive reform.
And, the location in the back room of Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub was strategic. Beckett’s is in Arlington, Virginia – and that state’s congressional delegation will help determine what happens to reform in the U.S. House:
But Virginia, which is home to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, is seen as key to the struggle because those two leaders hold the keys to reform’s future in the House.
And with 100,000 Irish-Americans in Cantor’s district alone, Staunton and other organizers believe they could be the difference between reform dying on the vine again and President Obama signing a bill before the end of 2014.
Staunton and the Irish Lobby are playing a key role in the ever-growing and diverse coalition to pass immigration reform in this Congress.