Monday, April 24, 2006


Monday Madness - Jailing of Irish illegals

Shame on you, King I was disgusted to learn courtesy of the Irish Independent that Peter King, a Right-wing US Republican Congressman and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams's main political ally in the United States, has backed anti-immigration legislation which could force up to 50,000 illegal Irish workers to flee the country or face jail.

The move has outraged the Irish-American community as the Bill could make it a crime to be an illegal alien and a rift has opened up between Irish-Americans and King.

King has even denounced Catholic bishops who oppose the legislation which would make up to 12 million illegal immigrants instant felons and also make it an offence punishable by five years' imprisonment for anyone who harbours or employs an illegal alien. The church has declared that the new law would make a felon out of a priest who counselled an illegal alien.

A group has been set up called the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform whose spokesman, ironically, is another long-time friend and ally of Adams, Niall O'Dowd. O'Dowd and King are now at odds over the proposed legislation which would force undocumented Irish to return home or face imprisonment.

The Irish Lobby, which is supported by the Irish Government, organised a protest at Washington to coincide with the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

It has strong support within the Irish-American resident community, particularly in the Tri-State area and has attracted the support of powerful US politicians including Senators Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all of whom support amending legislation which would allow illegal immigrants "guest worker" status and eventually citizenship so long as they pay back-taxes on income they have earned since being illegally in the United States.

Peter King however is opposed to this proposal.

What a disgrace! It seems Mr King is good at paying lip-service to the Irish but when it comes to helping them out, he doesn't want to know! Have Americans forgotten what Irish people have done for their country? I have a book called "The Irish Americans" by Ernest Wood which Americans like Peter king should take a look at as it explains the influence the Irish have had on the USA. For example:

- Among the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were four native Irishmen and four men born of Irish parents.

- An Irishman, Patrick Carr, was one of the five people killed in the Boston Massacre.

- "Give me liberty or give me death!" was part of a famous speech by Patrick Henry to the Virginia Assembly in 1775. Henry was a Virginian of Irish descent.

- John Barry, a native of Ireland, was the first American naval commander to capture a British warship during the Revolution. Later, Barry became the first commander of the US Navy and is today regarded as "Father of the American Navy".

- During the Revolution, 38% of the American forces were Irish. Wrote a British officer of the Americans, "The rebels are chiefly composed of Irish redemptioners and convicts, the most audacious rascals existing".

- The Irish joined public-service jobs in America and many became firefighters and policemen. By the time of the Civil War, New York's police force was 28% Irish, despite accounting for only 16% of the city's population. They filled police forces from Boston to New Orleans to San Francisco.

- The Irish were not well received by all Americans. There were "No Irish need apply" signs, Protestant maids were preferred to Catholic maids, and in the 1850s, the "Know-Nothing Party - which advocatd "America for Americans" - urged physical violence against the Irish. Riots broke out in Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore, Brooklyn, St. Louis and several Massachusetts cities. In Louisville, riots occurred against both Germans and Irish, with fires and looting of stores and houses until many immigrants left the city. This hostility took years to die out and the Ku Klux Klan added anti-Catholic sentiment to its anti-black sentiment. A cartoon from the early 20th century in Life magazine depicts hooded Klansmen staring down the Irish and blacks in Atlanta on St Patrick's Day.

- Despite this hostility, 144,000 Irishmen fought for the Union in the US Civil War, a smaller number for the Confederacy. The Irish 9th and 28th of Massachusetts both carried green flags, one with the inscription: "As aliens and strangers thou didst us befriend. As sons and true patriots we do thee defend."

- John P. Holland emigrated to America, where he built the first successful submarine. In 1900, he provided the US Navy with the first operational submarine, the U.S.S. Holland.

- Henry Ford, whose father fled the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, created one of the largest automobile companies in the world.

- America's most decorated World War 2 servicemen, Audie Murphy, was the son of a Texas-Irish sharecropper. He won 28 American and foreign medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, and singlehandedly held off a German force of more than 200 men and half a dozen tanks. After the war he starred in many films including his own story, To Hell and Back (1955).

- While in the 19th century the Irish were shown in American theatres as bumbling, belligerent and drunken buffoons, in the 20th century the Irish began to make an impact on the US screen through people like Grace Kelly, Maureen O'Hara, Scarlett O'Hara, Gene Kelly, James Cagney, Bing Crosby and John Wayne.

- US President John F. Kennedy was very proud of his Irish roots. He famously commented, "I know that the White House was designed by James Hoban, a noted Irish-American architect, and I have no doubt that he believed by incorporating several features of the Dublin style he would make it more homelike for any president of Irish descent. It was a long wait, but I appreciate his efforts."

When you consider the above information is it really too much to ask for the American people to show some respect to the Irish that now live there in the States? Americans like Niall O'Dowd, Ted Kennedy, Hilary Clinton and John McCain appear to appreciate the efforts of the Irish so why can't Peter King?

Do Americans like Peter King not give a damn about what the Irish have done for their country?



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