The Emerald Island Immigration Center (EIIC) was founded in New York in 1988 by the Irish Immigration Reform Movement, a group that takes action to help newly arriving Irish immigrants in America. The Irish Immigration Reform movement worked for government changes to acts like the U.S. Immigration Act of 1990 that would benefit Irish immigrants. They succeeded in having changes made to the act that gave equality to America’s policy on immigration. When the Emerald Isle Immigration Center was founded, it helped Irish immigrants with the basics of American living by giving the immigrants help with setting up bank accounts, finding homes, getting an education, and obtaining drivers licenses. The center also helped immigrants get visas and green cards.
Starting in 1990, the Emerald Isle Immigration Center expanded its duties to helping Irish immigrants with job-training. They also support the immigrants’ participation in their new country by becoming citizens and legal voters. The difficulties that Irish immigrants face with obtaining green cards makes it hard for them to legally enter America. The EIIC plans to combat this predicament facing Irish immigrants in the future as they did in the past with the problems in the U.S. Immigration Act of 1990. Many New York organizations help fund the EIIC, but the Irish government also finances the center.
The center has been visited by Mary McAleese, the modern day president of Ireland, as well as Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland. In 1998, the EIIC honored President Bill Clinton with the Paul O’Dwyer Peace and Justice Award. When President Clinton traveled to Ireland in 1995, the Chair of EIIC’s Board of Directors, Brian O’Dwyer, went with Mr. Clinton. Today, The Emerald Isle Immigration Center continues to work for the wellbeing of Irish immigrants.