Senator Scott Brown Opposes DREAM Act, But Favors Easier Visa Process for Irish Citizens

Mar 20, 2012
7:48 AM

Immigration hypocrisy is becoming the standard for US politicians. Take the case of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R), who is facing a tough re-election bid this year. Brown, who became the Bay State's senator in a special election after the death of Ted Kennedy, went on record in late 2010 and opposed The DREAM Act, calling it "backdoor amnesty." (Massachusetts has about 628,000 residents of Latino origin, about 9.6% of its total population.) However, Brown's opposition to "backdoor amnesty" is not influencing his latest legislative cause: to make it easier for Irish immigrants to gain work visas.

As The Boston Globe reports:

The Massachusetts Republican said the bill was designed to address what he said was a disproportionate immigration backlog for Irish immigrants going back to 1965.

Since then, he said the Irish have fallen further behind in the nation's immigration system.

The bill, which Brown co-sponsored with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, would add Ireland to the E-3 visa program, providing 10,500 employment visas that have no limit on the number of renewals allowed.

"Sadly, inefficiencies in our immigration program have resulted in increasingly poor prospects for Irish immigrants," Brown said when he filed the bill.

"Legal immigration is the foundation of America, and 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," he added.

It is quite convenient that all of a sudden Brown is becoming a champion of immigrant rights during an election year. Irish issues matter in Massachusetts, and Brown's voter base (Massachusetts' South Shore) has a large contingent of voters who are of Irish descent. In fact, 25% of all Massachusetts voters trace their roots to Ireland, which, according to The Globe, is double the national average.

No wonder Massachusetts immigration advocates are criticizing Brown for this political move.

Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, praised Brown for wading into the contentious immigration issue, but said he should look beyond one group.

"We encourage him to look at the whole big picture on immigration reform and the outdated laws we have because there are many nationalities," she said. "The immigration issue is a big one and it's not about one group. It's great to have additional visas, but he has to go further."

As for Brown's opponent? Warren favors it as well, according to the Irish press.