Eamon Gilmore in US today for talks on immigration reform

Bill to give immigrants path to citizenship stalled in Republican-led congress

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore arrives in Washington today for two days of meetings with US politicians in the Government's latest efforts to lobby for immigration reform.

Mr Gilmore will meet prominent political figures including Republican congressman Paul Ryan, the party's 2012 vice-presidential candidate, and Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a long-time champion of immigration reform, to push for an estimated 50,000 illegal Irish living in the US to be put on a path to citizenship and for new 'E3' working visas to be issued to new immigrants from Ireland.

He will also meet Republican congressmen Mick Mulvaney and Mark Amodei, both closely aligned with the Tea Party, as well as representatives from the Congressional Friends of Ireland group.

There will also be a meeting with Dr Richard Haass, the former US diplomat who chaired the Northern Ireland talks on parades, flags and the past.


Mr Gilmore's final trip to the US as Tánaiste and Labour leader comes as immigration reform advocates continue to assess how the shock defeat of Republican majority leader of the House of Representatives Eric Cantor by a Tea Party challenger in a Congressional primary election will affect their campaign for comprehensive legislation overhauling US immigration laws to help an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

He was beaten by little-known economics professor Dave Brat who accused the senior Republican leader of supporting an "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

A cross-party comprehensive immigration bill that would give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship passed the Democrat-controlled Senate last year but has stalled in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent