“they will have to return home before lodging new visa applications..”

Bertie, Bush, BowlWhile Taoiseach Bertie Ahern et al were in Washington yesterday, handing over another “lovely bowl”, he took the opportunity to finally agree with the Republic of Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Brian Lenihan – “Amnesty or regularisation, in my view, undermines the system of legal migration.” As the Irish Times frontpage report states [no subs req]

Mr Ahern said he wanted to be “honest about these things” with the undocumented Irish in the US, who could number between 3,000 and 20,000. “I don’t want to be gilding the lily. There are 12 million people here illegally. We came very close to a Bill with McCain and Kennedy. It wasn’t possible to deliver. The concept of an amnesty, wiping the sheet clean, is just not on.”

It was a point made back in November last year by Trina Vargo. But Niall O’Dowd, Chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, is not happy.. Nor are others.. And more here..The Irish Times also reports

IRISH PEOPLE living illegally in the US will not qualify for an amnesty and they will have to return home before lodging new visa applications, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said.

Ruling out any possibility of a special deal for Ireland, Mr Ahern, speaking following White House talks with US president George Bush, said an amnesty solely for the Irish was “not on”.

He is now placing his hopes on a two-way visa deal for 2009 or later that would benefit 18 to 35-year-olds from both countries. However, visas would last for no more than 15 months and would be renewable just once. In addition, such visas, if the scheme can be agreed, could not be applied for by anyone living illegally in the US, so they would have “to return to base” and lodge fresh applications.