IAUSA Irish Apostolate

An Immigrant's Musings - March 2014




"Kicking for touch" is a phrase taken from the game of Rugby and it has a similar meaning to sending a ball "out of bounds" in American sports. At the end of January, the GOP issues a set of principles that were prefaced by, in the words of Speaker Boehner:  "The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them." Well spoken, Mr. Speaker, however as the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said, " a week is a long time in politics". In just over a week, the same Mr. Boehner has kicked the Immigration reform ball well out of bounds.


The reason for the GOP change of tactics is a puzzling one to anyone who has an interest in immigration issues. Mr. Boehner and his GOP members do not trust our President to implement the law. The facts Mr. Speaker, I submit say otherwise. The reality is since 2009 the Obama administration has deported more than 2 Million from the country, a number that far exceeds what was achieved by the Bush administration in eight years.


Of course, this debate (in an election year) is not about facts, nor is it about good policy or what is best for the country. This is really about power, about the fact that Mr. Boehner is acting like a "lame duck" Speaker. Power, by its nature is either something that enables or constrains. In the current state within the GOP running the House, it is the power of the "tail wagging the dog" which is constraining Mr. Boehner from doing something constructive on immigration reform.


Now, while this may be a useful strategy in the push by the GOP to hold on to the House, I believe that it is shortsighted as regards the bigger picture. As Senator Lindsey Graham pointed out after the 2012 elections, the Republican Party if it is to have a real chance of winning back the White House needs to restore its broken relationship with Hispanic voters. Not only Hispanics but also with the Asian community who are also becoming more politically involved. 


And so, one may ask, is immigration reform dead for 2014? It has once again suffered a bad infection, whether it is terminal or not remains to be seen. I as a Christian am an optimist, one who believes in the resurrection of the dead and, therefore, I hold on to another saying in politics, "never say never." The ball that Mr. Boehner has "kicked into touch" may in fact be back in play allowing for a "touchdown" in the final minute of the game, in "the lame duck session" of this Congress. 








While walking down the street one day a Member of Congress is tragically hit by a truck and dies.


His soul arrives in Heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.


'Welcome to Heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'


'No problem, just let me in,' says the politician.


'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'


'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven,' says the Congressman.


'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'


And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a beautiful green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run 

to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.



They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.


Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly & nice fellow who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.


Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises....

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.


'Now it's time to visit Heaven.'


So, 24 hours pass with the Congressman joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.


'Well, then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity.'


The Congressman reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell.'


So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.


Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.


He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.


The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. 'I don't understand,' stammers the Congressman. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable, what happened?'


The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, 'Yesterday we were campaigning!



Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at: sliabhanoir@yahoo.com or 773-282-8445.













The Irish Apostolate USA is the umbrella organization for the Irish Immigration Pastoral and Outreach Centers in the United States, under the direction of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants. 

Please visit our website for more information:    Irish Apostolate USA 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone/Fax:  301-384-3375     Email: administrator@usairish.org