Durbin Calls on Senate to Pass Irish E3 Visa Bill

Republican objection delaying passage of key immigration measure

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Following Taoiseach Enda Kenny's visit to Washington yesterday, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today called on the Senate to pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which includes a Durbin co-sponsored amendment establishing a two-year visa program for Irish citizens.  The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act has already passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support.


“In December, Senators Schumer, Leahy and I introduced an amendment that recognizes the special relationship between the United States and Ireland.  Our Irish E3 visa amendment would allow a small number of Irish citizens – 10,500 a year – to work in America for two years, pay taxes and contribute to Social Security.


“All 53 Democratic Senators – a solid majority of this Senate – have also pledged their support for our proposal.  Despite this broad support inside and outside of Congress, at this time there is an objection on the Republican side to passing our bill. 


“We want to work with our Republican colleagues to break this impasse and create the Irish E3 visas this year.   As Prime Minister Kenny has said, Ireland’s economy will recover from its current difficulties.  But with Irish emigration higher than it has been in decades, it is in the interests of both Ireland and America that we act now, without delay, to create a fair and legal way for Irish citizens to work temporarily in America,” Durbin said.


The full text of Durbin’s statement as submitted for the Congressional Record is available below.