IAUSA Irish Apostolate

An Immigrant's Musings - July 2015




For most Americans, the Fourth of July is a time to relax and celebrate the gift of Independence, which we have enjoyed as a nation for the past two hundred and thirty nine years. The gift of freedom is something that perhaps many of us take for granted. It is not a gift that most of our neighbors who live and work among us as members of the undocumented community take for granted. The topic of immigration may not be on most people's minds as we celebrate Independence, but it is very much on the anxious minds of the millions who are forced to live in the shadows.


Reading a news report on a recent speech give by Alfanso Aguilar calling for a piecemeal approach to the subject was interesting but not surprising. Mr. Aguilar was head of USCIS under President George W. Bush and is now part of the conservative group American Principles In Action. They are a group that works to influence and attract Hispanic voters to the Republican ticket.


My issue with Mr. Aguilar's suggestion is this; firstly, this is not a new idea, many in the Republican party have suggested this approach in the past and it's been two years since the Senate passed a sensible bill and the House still has not moved a vote. Secondly, this approach is the equivalent of taking a small band-aid to a very large wound. The only way to heal the wound is to take a team of surgeons who know what they are doing and allow them to make the major calls needed to fix the bigger problem that has been causing the wound to remain open. 


Of course I do not expect the Republican controlled Congress to move any of their piecemeal legislation as once again it has become very clear that these folks are really more interested in politics than policy. And that stance as one experienced political commentator has noted, "will cost them any chance they have in winning the 2016 race for the White House."



The miracle of $1.11 - true story!

 Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. 

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.


"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"


"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little. "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"

"I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago. "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents - the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

"That surgery," her Mom whispered. "Was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"


Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents ... plus the faith of a little child.

Author Unknown

 Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at: sliabhanoir@gmail.com 





The Immigration Advocates Network and the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI) invite you to a free webinar, "Figuring Out the Immigration Options: How to Screen at Workshops," on Thursday August 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central / 12:00 pm Mountain / 11:00 am Pacific. The panel will discuss questions that volunteers and non-legal staff can ask at workshops and events to flag potential eligibility for immigration benefits. The webinar will cover:

- How to screen in a workshop setting; and,
- Easy-to-understand questions that do not require legal expertise or analysis.

In addition, the panel will provide a brief update on Administrative Relief and the pending lawsuit.

The panelists are Shiu-Ming Cheer, Immigration Attorney, National Immigration Law Center (NILC); Ilissa Mira, Staff Attorney, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC); and, Debbie Smith, Associate General Counsel/Immigration Law, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

To register for the free webinar, visit  

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5362541777433310210 .


Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email on how to connect to the webinar.


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