However the proposed law, the Irish Immigration Reform and Encouragement Act, would not include undocumented immigrants already in the US.
Similar to Tuesday’s move by New York senator Chuck Schumer, the two Republicans, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Mark Kirk of Illinois, suggested 10,500 renewable visas.
Schumer’s bill allowed for undocumented Irish to apply for the so-called E3 visa with a waiver, while Brown and Kirk’s proposal would exclude that possibility.
According to Irish Central, former Congressman Bruce Morrison, who represents the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and who gave his name to the Morrison Visa, pointed out that having the GOP on board was an optimistic development. “It is an important step in getting Republicans involved,” he said.
If passed, the bill will add the Republic of Ireland to a program which is already offered to Australian citizens in return for that nation’s co-operation in the Middle East. The visa requires applicants to have already secured a job in a skilled occupation.
“Legal immigration is the foundation of America,” said Senator Brown.
“We must continue to find ways to improve our visa and green card programs, especially when it comes to the treatment of our strongest allies and closest friends.
“This legislation rectifies the decades-long plight by including the Irish in a special visa program that encourages their skilled workers to come to our shores.”
In the wording of the bill, Ireland is described as “an important strategic ally and friend to the United States”.
“The United States and Ireland have a close bond, and our people remain tightly knit through a long history of Irish immigration. Sadly, inefficiencies in our immigration program have resulted in increasingly poor prospects for Irish immigrants,” said Senator Brown.
According to Irish Central, it has been noted by experts on the subject that waivers for undocumented Irish people could also be achieved administratively and not necessarily through legislation.