Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Questions (54)

Sandra McLellan


54. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will detail each engagement he had on his most recent visit to the United States of America; if he spoke to members of the United States Senate and the other members of Congress in the House of Representatives regarding the future of J1 visas for Irish students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35680/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Immigration reform was a key feature of my programme in Washington DC and I met with a range of the most significant Congressional leaders on immigration issues from both sides of the US political divide and at senior official level in the White House. These included Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Pete King, Congressman Richie Neal, Congressman Joe Crowley, Congressman Joe Kennedy, Congressman Mike Grimm, Congressman Tom Rooney, and I spoke with Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren by phone. I also met with the policy director and counsel to the Majority Whip Congressman Kevin McCarthy and with Speaker Boehner's chief of Staff, Mike Sommers. In the Senate, I met with Senator John McCain, Senator Pat Leahy and Senator Dick Durbin. I also met with representatives of Irish-American community groups and others with whom we have worked closely. Summer J1 visa issues have been largely resolved to our satisfaction in the Bill passed by the Senate. Senator Pat Leahy, who I met during my visit, had been a key player in reaching a satisfactory solution on that issue.