Breen attends audience with President Obama in White House as part of delegation on immigration reform

October 25th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael Clare TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, today (Thursday) attended an audience with US President Barack Obama in the White House, as part of a cross party delegation Deputy Breen is leading in Washington to push for immigration reform.

The event in the White House comes a day after the Irish delegation met with a number of key Republican congressmen, including Paul Ryan and the Speaker of the House John Boehner. The delegation being led by Deputy Breen represents a major final push in support for the Pro Immigrations Bill, which is due to pass through the House of Representatives.

“I was delighted to be present in the White House today to hear an address from President Obama on immigration reform, where he unequivocally stated that the US immigration system is broken and is badly in need of modernisation. President Obama also pointed out that reforming the immigration system would be good for the US economy, and could help to reduce the US deficit by a trillion dollars over the next two decades.

“President Obama encouraged those in attendance at today’s address to keep putting pressure on US politicians to get the job done. And that’s exactly what my colleagues and I are here to do. We held very constructive meetings with key Republic congressmen yesterday, including Paul Ryan and Speaker of the House, John Boehner. These are the policy makers who we must convince that this immigration bill is the right move for the United States.

“The legislation, which was drafted by a cross party group of Republican and Democrat Senators, will lead to major changes in the US immigration system and will offer the possibility of a more certain future to the 50,000 undocumented Irish currently living illegally in the US. It passed through the Senate earlier this year, but without passing through the House of Representatives the progress made to date will be meaningless.

“We have been making the case to Congress representatives here in Washington that this is an extremely important piece of legislation, which will allow the undocumented Irish to make a full contribution to the US economy. From the point of view of the Irish families involved, it will transform their lives by creating a path to citizenship, as well as allowing for 10,500 new e3 visas.

“We will continue to encourage a bipartisan approach to ensure the Bill is passed through the House of Representatives and is made into law.”