On Sunday, March 3, 2013 Bronx County Division 5 Woodlawn, honored Retired Judge John P. Collins, Bronx Division 3 President Bob Nolan and my wife, Siobhan Dennehy, AOH JFK Medal awardee & Executive Director Emerald Isle Immigration Center.
Division 5, a newly reorganized Division has a long history of leadership on Immigration reform and leadership. Along with his fellow honorees Judge Collins spoke to a capacity audience of clergy leaders, NYC elected officials, United Irish County Assn and AOH and LAOH National, State, County leaders.
Judge Collins, now retired, is a lifelong Bronx resident and Hibernian and has been a friend and advocate for all AOH issues over his long and impressive career in the Bronx courts. He is a veteran of the fight against Irish Visa quota removal in 1965, the fight for Irish republican detainees of the 1980’s and 1990’s, and the 1990 Morrison Visa battle.
My late father, Dan and I were both Past Presidents of Division 5 who along with many other great Hibernians worked with Judge Collins on these issues.
I am proud to represent the National Board on the range of issues that concern immigration and I look forward to working even closer with all of you in the coming months. Two weeks ago, we fought to have Brian Pearson removed from the TSA NO-FLY list so that he could attend a reunion with his family. Just yesterday, Malachy McAllister received word that he has been granted another year in his fight to remain here in his adopted land. We will not stop until he and all the detainees’ are given permanent status in the US. Nor have we ever stopped fighting for all of our undocumented and detained Irish immigrants. Often, when a person’s future is at stake, this sensitive work is best done without blast emails, herald or headline.
In January, when talk of immigration reform made national headlines, I called upon the coalition of Irish lobby groups to resume our weekly legislative updates. Along with ILIR, the Chicago Celts, Bruce Morrison & other key lobbyists and Irish Embassy official, I, as your representative to these talks, continue to hone the Irish elements of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). When at last we have the wording of that component, I will share it with you all.
Until such time as that, please use this St. Patrick’s season to urge your elected officials to support CIR and that they must insure that the future flow of legal Irish immigration is vital to both Ireland and all of us.
Click Here to Download the Speech and I hope that you can find it as inspiring as I have. It is a call to action for all Irish Americans. We must heed that call as Hibernians.
Click Here for an editorial from today’s Irish Voice. Rarely does Mr. O’Dowd even mention our organization, but even he recognizes how important our role is in the future of immigration related to the Irish people.
I wish all of you and your families a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and remain
Yours in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America Inc.
National Immigration Chairman