2nd Annual Business Leaders Breakfast Attracts Crowd

Boston, MA- Drawing on his own Irish immigrant roots, Congressman Edward Markey spoke about the struggles and successes of immigrants, both historically and in the present at the second annual Irish International Immigrant Center’s (IIIC) business leader’s breakfast.  He chose the right audience for a review of the status of comprehensive immigration reform with which the Congressman has been very involved.  Business leaders not only listened to Markey's insights, but asked pointed questions, many of which were relevant to the immigrant population which the Center serves. 

Before focusing on immigration reform however, the Congressman spoke about the current hot button topic of the economy, following up on President Obama's speech on that subject earlier in the week.  The Congressman noted the importance of nurturing and harnessing the diverse minds of our nation to unleash their imagination, creativity, and innovation.  “We can either invest in our economy and in our next generation of immigrant entrepreneurs or we risk losing our place as the world’s leading economic superpower and innovator,” said Rep. Markey.  The Congressman remarked that by focusing on education, innovation, and technology, we can rebuild our economy, create good jobs, and ensure a brighter future for Massachusetts.

The story of the two sides of my family - the Markeys and the Courtneys - in America mirrors the tales of countless Irish immigrants who came to the United States, worked hard to improve their lives, and harnessed the gift of educational opportunity to give each succeeding generation a better life,” said Rep. Markey.  “I work every day to keep faith with that tradition and animate my legislative efforts and priorities for fairness and justice and opportunity for all Americans.

Sister Lena Deevy, the Executive Director of the Irish International Immigrant Center, said, “We are extremely fortunate to have Congressman Markey as our guest speaker to help us draw attention to the need for ongoing funding of the many services the IIIC provides to newcomers to America's shores.  Not only is the Congressman a leader in immigration reform, but he can speak from his own family's personal experience, as well as that of many of his constituents.”

Markey then linked his two key topics of the economy and immigration reform.  President Obama had already emphasized that connection in his speech in El Paso on May 10th when he noted, “Immigration reform is an economic imperative.”

Markey emphasized a significant victory for victims of the Haitian earthquake earlier this week.  On May 9th, Markey sent a letter to President Obama requesting the extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians who fled that country's devastation and joined family and friends in the United States after January 2010.  The Congressman noted that Massachusetts has the third largest Haitian community in the country and that there is a large number of Haitians in his own district.  Fortunately, the Congressman's request was granted on Tuesday when the Department of Homeland Security's Secretary, Janet Napolitano, announced that the Department would extend Temporary Protective Status for an additional 18 months for Haitians who are currently here in the United States.  In addition, she announced that Haitians who arrived up to one year after the earthquake can apply for Temporary Protective Status.

“The fact that Congressman Markey could expound on this week's wonderful news for Haitians living in the US was so important to our Center and our people,” said Deevy.  “Haitians are a key community served by the Irish International Immigrant Center and we are so grateful to the Congressman for all of his efforts.”