“Ireland historically has punched above its weight when it comes to humanitarian assistance, dealing with migrants who are displaced because of war, peacekeeping activities around the world,” Obama said.
By Jialu Liu, Pilar Martinez and Mariela Hernandez
WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Irish Prime Minister Taoiseach Enda Kenny met Tuesday in an annual bilateral meeting to discuss issues ranging from the migration of refugees to immigration.
“Ireland historically has punched above its weight when it comes to humanitarian assistance, dealing with migrants who are displaced because of war, peacekeeping activities around the world,” Obama said. “And so we’ve been very grateful to hear the kinds of work that Ireland is already doing, and want to continue to partner with them on that front.”
In September, Ireland agreed to accept 2,900 refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, with the potential to accept 4,000 refugees because of a family reunification program.
During their meeting, the leaders also discussed immigration. Kenny said that he “commended” the president’s executive action on immigration which would grant deferred action status for certain undocumented immigrants.
“The great strength of the United States has always been the willingness to welcome immigrants to our shores,” Obama said. “That’s what’s made us unique and special.”
He added that the importance of immigration is understood by the Irish Americans and it has given them “a sense of compassion and sympathy and understanding about these issues generally.”
Later in the evening the President will deliver remarks at a reception for St. Patrick’s Day at the White House where the Vice President will also attend.