Northern Ireland and the Impacts of Brexit, Social Media Marketing, Congress, 
and more from O'Neill and Associates

Dear Friend,

Like most Americans, I have watched with great concern the devastation that Hurricane Harvey left in its aftermath.  Despite the severe destruction in Houston, we have also witnessed the resilience of the American people.  Neighbor helping neighbor, family helping family, Americans come together in times of tragedy.  We have witnessed many acts of heroism over the past two weeks and one such act surrounds the efforts of paramedic Jesus Contreras who spent multiple days rescuing Houston residents from the dangerous flood waters.  Contreras was doing his job just like thousands of other first responders.  However, Contreras who was brought to the United States at the age of 6, is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which allows for a level of amnesty for undocumented children brought into the United States illegally by their parents. 
This very week that Americans are coming together to help with the clean-up of Hurricane Harvey and prepare for the potential catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Irma in Florida, President Trump announced his intention to end the DACA program, thereby putting hero, Jesus Contreras' future in jeopardy. 
Established by Executive Order by President Obama, DACA requires these individuals to meet strict criteria in order to receive deferral of deportation such as age restrictions, requirements for continuous years residing in the U.S., education requirements, a clean legal record and more. The DACA population in the United States is more than 800,000 young people. President Trump has given Congress six months to legalize the program, with no clear indication as to the consequences of inaction.
For decades, presidents from both parties have supported versions of immigration reform but achieved only limited legislative results. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan, a conservative icon, said "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally." This belief became a reality in 1986 when Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The new law allowed nearly three million immigrants living in the United States illegally to gain a path to legalization as long as they have been living in the country continuously for four years.
While this was a push in the right direction, it did not provide security for the spouses and children of those who qualified. President George H. W. Bush implemented the "family fairness" policy, which did just that. Families of undocumented immigrants who qualified for the IRCA were allowed to apply for an extension to remain in the United States. His advocacy for undocumented immigrants and their families may have been the reason in 2000 his son, President George W. Bush, won 35 percent of the Hispanic vote.
But immigration reform has gone from being bipartisan to downright toxic for elected Republicans. In 2001 Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) co-sponsored the Dream Act to protect young undocumented immigrant children. Six years later, despite support from President Bush, a bipartisan Senate filibuster ended the legislation. Another attempt in 2010 saw Dream legislation pass the House, but fell five votes shy in the Senate. In 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress with an executive order, despite its vulnerability to future administrations.
Protecting undocumented children is not a party issue but rather a people issue. A recent poll found that 78 percent of registered voters, including 73 percent of Trump voters, support DACA and giving those who qualify, commonly referred to as the "Dreamers," a chance to remain in the country permanently. The DACA program is an embodiment of the American Dream. Many DACA individuals have known no country but the United States. They have worked hard to assimilate and create tremendous success for themselves.
DACA not only benefits these dreamers but also our economy. According to the ACLU of Massachusetts, ending DACA would remove an estimated 685,000 workers from the labor force and create a $460.3 billion loss in U.S. GDP over the next decade. In Massachusetts alone, the state would see a $606.8 million decrease in annual GDP with the loss of this program.
The United States was founded on the dream of a better life. From the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock to the countless individuals who passed through Ellis Island, our nation has stood tall as a melting pot of immigrant cultures. I don't often quote Ronald Reagan but in his final speech as President he said, "I think it's fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: "You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk, or a Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the Earth, can come to live in America and become an American."
DACA is now in the hands of Congress - the place it needs to be if we want to fully and finally address the predicament of these young people. There seems to be support among both parties for a solution. It's time for Congress to revisit the DREAM Act or at least cast real votes to match their compassionate rhetoric toward dreamers.  America has a place for Dreamers like Jesus Contreras.  He personifies the American spirit.

Tom O'Neill
Current Events and Expertise
A Look Ahead at the Fall Agenda on Beacon Hill
By Lindsay Toghill, Vice President

Massachusetts lawmakers have begun a busy fall session. Their packed agenda contains a lengthy to-do list they will address in the coming months. 

The state budget, Masshealth reforms, and short term rentals are just a few. Read more for a full preview of items that could catch the Legislature's attention this fall.

Five Things to Know About the Cannabis Business in Massachusetts Today
By Chris Niles, Vice President

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) is a new regulatory body established to oversee the marijuana industry in Massachusetts. The CCC is a new independent entity created by Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017, comprised of a five member board of commissioners. 

Here are five things to know about the Cannabis business in Massachusetts.

Senior Vice President, Ann Murphy, featured on NECN's The Take with Sue O'Connell

Ann Murphy
Would having a better gender balance in Congress mean less gridlock? In August, Ann Murphy, was featured on NECN's
The Take with Sue O'Connell on NECN to discuss the topic of whether electing more women to Congress would reduce legislative stalemate and lead the way to getting more women involved in politics. Ann was joined by Gail Jackson-Blount, president, Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus.

Client Spotlight
Boston Comic Con 2017 Was a Crowd Pleaser 

From August 11-13, Boston Comic Con celebrated its 10th anniversary giving fans an opportunity to experience the best in comic artistry and pop culture. This year's show "true to comic, committed to fans" was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for the first time in order to accommodate the ever-growing audience drawn to this extremely popular event.

Over 55,000 fans experienced an incredible lineup of celebrity guests, comic creators, cosplayers and more than 100 events that appealed to all ages. 
Read More
NCSL Legislative Summit 2017

August 6-9, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), hosted its annual summit in Boston. For four days hundreds of legislators and staffers gathered for dozens of events to network and learn about new state policy initiatives and best practices as well as directives and resolutions that are intended to guide NCSL's advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration; amendments to the bylaws and rules; as well as many other topics. 
Today at OA
33rd Boston Film Festival to Feature the U.S. Premiere of the Documentary  In The Name of Peace: John Hume in America

On Opening Night, Thursday, September 21, the Boston Film Festival will feature the U.S. premiere of In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America, directed by Maurice Fitzpatrick.
The film chronicles John Hume's approach to politics in Northern Ireland and includes wide-ranging and insightful interviews with President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, as well as Irish leaders, Bono, American legislators, and Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair who helped to wrest peace from war in Northern Ireland. Liam Neeson is the voice-over narrator, and Bill Whelan (Riverdance) is the film's musical composer.
A panel discussion with Maurice Fitzpatrick, Globe Columnist Kevin Cullen, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Tom O'Neill and others will follow the screening at the AMC Boston. More information is available at and @HumeInAmerica.

Boston Business Journal ranks O'Neill and Associates among the top ten largest public relations firms in Massachusetts

O'Neill and Associates' public relations division was ranked among the top 10 largest public relations firms in Massachusetts in the 2017 Boston Business Journal's Book of Lists.

OA Welcomes Fall Interns
The popular internship program at O'Neill and Associates helps students gain first-hand experience in working on federal and state governmental issues as well as in all facets of modern public relations. September brings a new class of interns. This fall, we are proud to welcome undergraduate and graduate students from Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Suffolk University and Tufts University.

Throughout the semester, these students work closely with specially paired mentors to learn more about the work done for clients in public relations, government relations, community relations, federal relations and marketing. Over the course of the semester interns become immersed in public affairs issues and build relationships that will help guide them as they embark on their future careers. 
Upcoming Events
For more information on events please contact O'Neill and Associates 617-646-1000
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