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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) held a telephone conference call Friday to tout his success at beating back a challenge in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday to a special E-3 visa to bring 10,500 Irish workers to the United States each year.
Sen. Charles Grassley (D-Iowa) had filed an amendment to alter the measure, but withdrew it after seeing no support for it on the committee.
Schumer said the visa was needed to fix a glitch in the 1965 Immigration Act that put Irish at a disadvantage.
“Anyone who is on this visa program, and works for three years, can apply for a green card, and because they work in the U.S. and speak English, they have a very good chance of wining legal residence,” he said.
In 2011, federal records show, a total of 1,371 people from Ireland became permanent residents, compared with 33,587 from India.
Asked if he would use this measure to persuade immigration hard-liner Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), Schumer said, “I would hope it would influence him to be for comprehensive immigration reform.”
No way, said King, reached after he landed from a flight from Washington to Long Island.
“Border security. That’s the whole issue to me,” King said.