Gang of Eight’s Schumer serves up ‘visa pork’ for Irish nationals

By   /   June 10, 2013  /   3 Comments

LUCK OF THE IRISH: Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pushed a special Irish visa program through the Gang of Eight.

LUCK OF THE IRISH: Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pushed a special Irish visa program through the Gang of Eight.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org

WASHINGTON – Irish nationals seeking to enter the United States would get special treatment under an earmarked immigration amendment by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Over the objection of some Republicans, including Iowa’s Charles Grassley, who said there was no justification for “this special earmark for Ireland,” the New York Democrat advanced his proposal to ensure an annual, unending allocation of 10,500 “Schumer Visas” to Irish nationals.

Applicants need have no more preparation than a high school diploma or its equivalent in job experience to qualify. The visas would be renewable indefinitely, and recipients would be allowed to bring their spouses and children.

Schumer said it’s only fair.

“This proposal addresses unintended consequences from a 1965 immigration law that inadvertently disadvantaged Irish nationals seeking to enter the United States,” Schumer said in a statement.

Plus, he explained, “Congress has already created similar programs for other allies with strong cultural ties to the United States, such as Australia.”

Jerry Kammer, an analyst with the enforcement-oriented Center for Immigration Studies, disputed Schumer, a member of the “Gang of Eight,” which drafted the omnibus immigration-reform package, S.744, pending in the Senate.

Kammer said visa programs like those involving Australia are linked to trade agreements, typically attracting immigrants with special skills or college degrees. The so-called “Schumer Visa” carries no such provisions.

As for the Irish being “disadvantaged,” Kammer said the island nation is on the same footing as the rest of Western Europe.

“The 1965 act disadvantaged a lot of old immigration countries, especially in Western Europe,” he told Watchdog.org in an interview. Yet the Schumer Visa is targeted to just one nation: Ireland.

Lacking a skill-education component, the Schumer Visa will bring in immigrants who will compete with working-class Americans at a time of high unemployment, Kammer predicted.

“This is visa pork. It’s doing a favor for a politically well organized constituency,” he concluded.

“This is a very poor way to run any policy, and certainly not a way to run immigration policy.”

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.

  • mcbee555

    Grassley is correct, there’s no reason to allow Irish nationals any more consideration than any other WORTHY applicants. Schumer is dangling the Irish immigration, not heart-felt on his part because he’s strictly political, but Schumer will do anything to prevail, even play to Irish sentiment.
    Perhaps he ought to try putting his hair on fire….oh, no hair? How about running into rush hour traffic on the L.I. Expressway? Then, there could be a special senatorial election/appointment…whatever Cuomo wants.

  • sgtshel

    It’s all about Chuckie!!! It’s all about the votes!! New York should really dump this guy!

  • newsy

    Do you think this might also be a ploy to take attention from the Latinos? Spread it around, include everyone so you can’t say they favor anyone.
    Like sgtshel said, it’s all about votes for the Dems.