Brace Yourself: More Irish Immigration on the Way

Published on November 22nd, 2010

Bad news from Ireland. According to a November 20 New York Times story, the Irish have begun another wave of out migration. For the last two decades, Ireland’s economy had been so strong that immigrants poured into the tiny country of only 4.5 million. Experts fretted that Ireland would eventually experience a population explosion so intense that its numbers would swell to the mid-19th century great potato famine level of nearly 7 million. Ireland’s 2008 demographic profile tells its population story. Ireland had the highest birth rate (18.1 per 1,000), lowest death rate (6.1 per 1,000) and highest net-migration rate (14.1 per 1,000) in the entire European Union and the largest population growth rate (4.4 percent) in the 27-member bloc. That’s over now. As Ireland copes with its latest economic crisis and the European Union and International Monetary Fund draw up a bailout package that may reach over $10 billion, the Irish are packing their suitcases to head for Canada, Australia, New Zealand Britain, the Middle East, Asia and, of course, the United States. Expect more Irish immigrants to land in America than any other possible destination for two reasons. First, the United States has a more accepting policy than any other country in terms of allowing legal immigration and ignoring illegal immigration. Second, once in the United States, Irish immigrants will find a well organized, well connected and vocal lobby to argue for amnesty. The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, organized in 2005, relies on its Senate connections to promote amnesty for what it claims to be approximately 50,000 illegal alien Irish. I suspect that the total is significantly higher. Although it lost its champion when Edward M. Kennedy died last year, ILIR still has Senate support from John McCain and John Cornyn both of Irish ancestry as well as Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer. Ironically, one of the arguments made by the Irish is that Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act hindered the flow of Celts in favor of other groups mostly from undeveloped nations. Kennedy had promised that it would do no such thing. The Irish crisis and the looming wave of more immigrants that it precipitants is a good reminder that the United States alien problem is not limited to Mexico and Central America. Millions of worldwide illegal entrants and visa over-stayers live in the United States without any serious fear of deportation.

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