ADAMS’ VISA DENIED BY US
The US Special Envoy, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, has barred Gerry Adams once again from attending a fundraising event unless the party endorses the PSNI. This time it is a Friends of Sinn Féin breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. on the morning of March 16th.
The move by the US Administration is all the more galling and mystifying at this time as policing reform remains the subject of delicate negotiations with the British government, expected to introduce legislation devolving policing and justice to elected officials in the north of Ireland. Something SF has been lobbying for.
Sinn Féin has pledged that if the British legislation is as promised, it would call a Special Ard Fheis to consider movement on its policing policy.
Oddly, the IRA moves over the past months in standing down as a military force and totally decommissioning its arms seems to have stimulated the US Administration to punish Sinn Féin. The first case of banning Mr. Adams came just after these events in November of last year. Without doubt, Sinn Féin is the number one mover of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process.
At the time of the first ban, Mr. Adams said, “Our position on policing is very clear. The British government has agreed to honour certain commitments. I am committed if and when they do that to go to the Sinn Féin ard chomhairle [executive] to deal with the issue of policing. These positions are matters of public record.
“The visa position, as I understand it, is absurd.”
There also seems no end of the British [and Irish?] government propagandizing in Washington and elsewhere in the U.S. over the recent IMC [Independent Monitoring Commission] report which contended, without any evidence or judicial backing, minor evidence of IRA “criminality” and a few guns apparently floating about republican circles. This despite the one hundred thousand weapons legally held in predominantly unionist hands.
The IMC, which is neither independent nor monitors anything - it is told what to report by the PSNI, just happens to be visiting the U.S. What a coincidence.
Meanwhile, the DUP is opening a US office. There are no plans to ban Ian Paisley from fundraising. The DUP will be rewarded for its tireless efforts to wreck the GFA and return to the unacceptable, bloody past.
Irish America must stand up.
We must send a powerful message to Amb. Mitchell Reiss, the National Security Council, and whoever is responsible in the U.S. Administration by supporting the Washington D.C. fundraiser [details soon] and communicating our anger to the Bush Administration [see contact info below].
Contact the White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500
White House Phone Numbers
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secretary of State, Dr. Condolezza Rice
220 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
Special Envoy, Dr. Mitchell Reiss
 647-2972 ext 7312
Contact both by email:
The following alert is from the ACLU.
I wanted to give you an update on the immigration legislation being considered by Congress that poses a serious threat to the civil liberties of the Irish community.
Our time is running out to stop or improve this legislation so it is going to be crucial that we jump into action. In the upcoming weeks the Irish community has a unique opportunity to have an influence on the final drafts of legislation that will be moving forward.
Please feel free to circulate this email to other leaders in the Irish-American community who could take action on these issues.
Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication to this.
(ACLU’s National Field Organizer)
WHICH BILL WILL MOVE:
As you know, the Sensenbrenner-King bill has already passed the House and poses a grave threat to Irish immigrants. There are currently multiple immigration bills that have been introduced in the Senate, some better than others. I know some of the Irish groups have endorsed McCain-Kennedy, but the reality is that McCain- Kennedy is not going to move. The immigration bill that will be the vehicle in the Senate, and that will ultimately have to be conferenced with Sensenbrenner- King if it passes, is a bill by Senator Arlen Specter that will be circulated later this week. As Chair of the Judiciary Committee he will be taking parts of the different bills and putting them together to create his own. So, it will be imperative for the leadership of the Irish community to tell Specter that he should include the good parts of the McCain-Kennedy bill and not to include the bad parts we have seen in the Sensenbrenner-King bill.
Chairman Specter will circulate a draft of his bill on Thursday, February 28th. That means that we have Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to pressure him to improve his draft bill before it is released publicly. Please call (and write if you have time) Senator Specter before next Thursday.
After it is introduced on Thursday, there will be Judiciary Committee mark-ups of the bill on each of the following three Thursdays (March 2, 9, and 16). During those markups, Senators on the Judiciary Committee will be able to propose amendments to the Specter bill. During these three weeks, it will be very important for the Irish American community to pressure the members to the Judiciary Committee to support amendments that improve the bill, and oppose amendments that make it worse. And finally it will be important to pressure other Senators to support good amendments on the floor and oppose bad ones when this comes to a vote, probably by early April.
TOP TARGETS FOR IRISH PRESSURE:
Specter (R-PA) - Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee DeWine (R-OH) - Judiciary Committee Member Biden (D-DE) - Judiciary Committee Member Féinstein (D-CA) - Judiciary Committee Member Schumer (D-NY) - Judiciary Committee Member Clinton (D-NY) Lugar (R-IN) Voinovich (R-OH)
IRISH TALKING POINTS ON IMMIGRATION BILL
We have seen the Sensenbrenner-King bill and we understand that a new bill will be introduced by Senator Specter in the Senate relating to Immigration. We wish to convey to the Senator our concerns about provisions in these other bills, which pose a direct threat to the Irish immigrant community in America, and ask that he not include any such provisions in his bill. The problematic provisions that raise serious concerns for us are the following:
The Sensenbrenner bill would explicitly authorize detention of Irish non-citizens for an unlimited time if they cannot be removed from the United States. So, if Ireland or the UK refused to accept an Irish non-citizen being deported from the US (for example, because they deemed that person a national security risk as a result of that person’s prior involvement with the IRA), the bill would permit the indefinite detention of of that person in the US.
Furthermore, if an Irish non-citizen were charged even with very minor immigration violations, but the US deemed that person a national security risk, they could also be held indefinitely.
CRIMINALIZING IMMIGRATION STATUS
The Sensenbrenner bill will make every immigration violation, however minor, into a federal crime. The bill would create a new federal crime of “illegal presence” - even without any intent to violate the immigration laws.
Furthermore, the overbroad definition of “smuggling” could criminalize the work of Catholic churches or Irish refugee organizations acting in good faith. Harboring anyone from Ireland who is illegally in the US is made a crime, even if the church or Irish organization assisting the individual had no intent of financial gain. It makes it criminal for churches or refugee organizations to try to help and treats such organizations the same as smuggling operations.
The Sensenbrenner bill empowers the US government to revoke the visas of Irish temporary residents without judicial review. Irish visitors, students, guest workers to the U.S. who hold non-immigrant visas (e.g., students, guest workers, etc.) must sign a waiver of their right to judicial review to obtain a visa.
Deportation of Irish immigrants based on secret evidence of involvement in a terrorist group or merely ‘endorsing’ or ‘espousing’ terrorism will no longer have judicial review.
Furthermore, all federal immigration cases would be funnelled into a separate court of appeals for immigration, ghettoizing deportation cases away from the regular justice system with serious consequences to the quality of justice.
EXPANDS EXPEDITED REMOVAL
Requires the border patrol to pick up and deport - without even an administrative hearing - Irish non- citizens arriving within 100 miles of the border that an agent thinks are undocumented immigrants who have been present less than 14 days. This includes ports of entry such as airports in New York and Boston.