I was disappointed but not altogether surprised to see that the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform opposed the work stoppage in the US yesterday, which highlighted the contribution of immigrants to the American work force.

This appears to me to be something of a pattern. I was in Washington a couple weeks ago, when close to half a million immigrants, mostly from Latin America, and their supporters rallied in support of legislative reform, and I took part in that demonstration. Obviously with a crowd that size it's not possible to speak definitively about who was or wasn't there - but I walked in and out and all around the crowd a dozen times, over the course of a couple hours, and I didn't see one single bit of evidence for an ILIR presence. In such an important march on the nation's capital, I would have expected all interested groups to be in attendance.

I suspect - and I would love to be proven wrong on this - that this is part of a concerted effort by ILIR to distance themselves from "those" immigrants. To gain support from those segments of American society (and Congress) whose opposition to immigration reform is motivated primarily by anti-Hispanic sentiment. If I am correct about this, and again I would welcome evidence (evidence not assertions!) to the contrary, it is nothing less than a coded appeal to racism. And it is disgraceful.

Irish immigrants should be trying to change the law through solidarity with other immigrants, not by portraying themselves as somehow different or more deserving than the rest.

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