The Conversation

Ireland's Prime Minister Pushes for Immigration Reform During Visit

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was in Washington today as part of a long-observed St. Patrick's Day tradition. He also used the visit to lobby the American government for immigration reform, in effect asking for amnesty for an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish living illegally in the United States.

Kenny "urged Congress to pass immigration reform, noting that 50,000 undocumented Irish live in the United States, according to The L.A. Times.

"And what we want is a process of legalization, where they pay their taxes, pay their way, raise their families, travel home and travel back," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden was in attebndance and added his own support for reform.

It's customary for Ireland's leader to visit the United States ahead of St. Patrick's Day and present the president with a bowl of shamrocks, a tradition dating back to President Truman. Obama met with Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office on Friday morning, where he applauded Ireland for its support during the current crisis in Ukraine.

Obama, who's great-great-great-grandfather is from the small Irish town of Moneygall, told Kenny to say hello for him. More here:

This year's annual Friends of Ireland luncheon closed with a banjo and guitar performance of "Wild Rover," a classic Irish folk song. The room, including Boehner and Obama, joined in for the chorus.


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