A new independent lobbying organisation has been set up in the United States to secure working visas for an estimated 25,000 illegal Irish immigrants.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform is currently meeting in New York.

Earlier this month, US President George W Bush laid out his blueprint for immigration reform.

Proposals have also been published by Republican Senators John Kyl and John Cornyn.

The Dáil has officially backed plans by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and Republican John McCain.

It is likely that elements of all three will go into legislation aimed at tackling the biggest immigration problem the US has ever faced.

There are estimated to be 11 million undocumented workers in the US, amongst them an estimated 25,000 Irish.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform pulls together prominent Irish American businessmen along with former Congressman Bruce Morrison, author of the Morrison Visas, and publisher Niall O'Dowd.

Its aim is to ensure that Irish immigrants do not get left behind in any deal which may emerge.

It is expected that immigration reform will become one of the biggest domestic issues on President Bush's agenda next year.