New York governor would 'absolutely love' to see the return of Irish students and nurses

During Micheál Martin's US visit, Kathy Hochul said welcoming international students and workers was 'part of our heritage'
New York governor would 'absolutely love' to see the return of Irish students and nurses

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told Irish reporters in New York on Monday that she wants to "hear the brogues" in areas from Manhattan to Montauk. Picture: Michael M Santiago/Getty

The Governor of New York says that Irish students should be welcomed back to the state from next year.

The J1 programme, which offers Irish students the chance to work summers in the US, has been suspended since last March when then US president Donald Trump signed an executive order. 

With the lifting of the US travel ban set to take place, there is hope that the J1 programme will reopen for the summer of 2022. Each year, around 3,000 students take up the visas, with more using the J1 graduate programme, which offers a 12-month working visa for college graduates.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told Irish reporters in New York today that she wants to "hear the brogues" in areas from Manhattan to Montauk.

"I would absolutely love to see them coming back next year," she said: 

It's part of growing up — I spent time in Ireland and London as a student and I'm a better person for having that international experience. I feel it is really discouraging to me that during the Trump administration there was such a suppression of anyone coming here. 

She said that America "needs to get them back" as immigration “is part of our heritage”.

Ms Hochul said the Trump administration had suppressed the entry of people into America and said that she would work to ensure that New York was a more welcoming place, and made a particular pitch to nurses: 

I need people in a number of jobs — particularly healthcare. If there are any nurses who want to come to the state of New York, we will try to pave the way with visas. 

Speaking after the meeting, the Taoiseach said that he had not raised the issue of undocumented Irish in New York with Governor Hochul, but said that she was empathetic to their plight.

"That's not really a matter for the governor, but I think you could hear she's very empathetic to the undocumented in particular and would be in favour of a much more liberal approach and seems to me to facilitating and helping people in difficult situations," he said, 

Mr Martin added that Ireland's Ambassador to the US, Daniel Mulhall, and Consul General Helena Nolan would continue to work on the issue. There are around 50,000 undocumented Irish people in the US.

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