Sunday 19 August 2018

Morrison Visas hero signs up to lobby for Irish 'illegals' in US

Lobbyist Bruce Morrison
Lobbyist Bruce Morrison
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Government has hired former US congressman Bruce Morrison's lobbying group to help with resolving the issue of undocumented Irish immigrants in America.

Mr Morrison offered the services of his Morrison Public Affairs Group to prepare draft legislative language for a proposal to help Irish immigrants get work and travel rights in the US in return for reciprocal measures for Americans in Ireland.

There are around 10,500 US citizens in Ireland. Estimates of the number of undocumented Irish in the US range from 10,000 to 50,000.

A former Democratic congressman for Connecticut, Mr Morrison is famous for helping to bring in the so-called 'Morrison Visas' in the early 1990s that granted green cards to thousands of Irish citizens.

Details of his work helping with the undocumented issue are contained in documents filed with the US Department of Justice by Morrison Public Affairs Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). They include an email he wrote to an Irish Embassy official in November.

It says: "As we have discussed, Morrison Public Affairs Group will prepare draft legislative language for a provision to assist Irish undocumented in the US to gain work and travel authorisation in 'deferred action' status in recognition of a package of reciprocal measures to benefit Americans now or in the future, resident in Ireland." He said the fee would be $7,500 (€6,100) payable on acceptance of the proposal.

The embassy official replied: "Thanks and will get back to you asap on this - am sure Dublin will green light."

Further FARA filings show the embassy paid a fee of $7,500 in December 2017.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Irish Embassy liaises with a number of stakeholders including Mr Morrison on the issue of the undocumented Irish.

He said: "This is in line with the Government's objective to seek a solution to the plight of thousands of undocumented Irish citizens resident in the US."

The spokesperson added: "The Government avails of all opportunities to raise US immigration reform and the status of the undocumented Irish with the US administration and with contacts on Capitol Hill.

"The work of Mr Morrison in this regard was in conjunction with the Embassy of Ireland as part of that objective."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section