News / USA

Analysts Say Republicans Under Pressure on Immigration Reform

Analysts Say Republicans Under Pressure on Immigration Reformi
X
January 31, 2014 1:09 AM
Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are outlining their principles on immigration reform to party members at a retreat in Eastern Maryland. They are likely to hear strong views from some of their more conservative legislators who want border security to take priority. President Barack Obama, Democratic lawmakers and pro-reform activists are urging House Republicans to make 2014 the year for a major overhaul of U.S. immigration policy, but analysts say there is a tough road ahead. VOA’s Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.
Cindy Saine
— Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are outlining their principles on immigration reform to party members at a retreat in Eastern Maryland.  They are likely to hear strong views from some of their more conservative legislators who want border security to take priority.  President Barack Obama, Democratic lawmakers and pro-reform activists are urging House Republicans to make 2014 the year for a major overhaul of U.S. immigration policy, but analysts say there is a tough road ahead.

Some U.S. states are enacting their own measures to deal with the reality of an estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.  Maryland, near the nation's capital, is allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses if they meet certain requirements.

At his annual State of the Union address, President Obama renewed his call for action.

“Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement - and fix our broken immigration system," said President Obama.

The president did not give Congress a list of demands for immigration reform.  Mark Kennedy of George Washington University says this was wise.

“Well, I think the president understands that the next step in the process is to get the U.S. House to act, and the more he’s pushing, the less likely they are to act," said Kennedy.

The president and other Democrats would like the bill to contain a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents.  Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett:
 
"We have too many families who are being torn apart - parents from children - because they lack proper documents. I believe that those families who are playing by the rules, paying their taxes, ought to have a way to pay a fine, get in line and achieve American citizenship here," said Doggett.

But many Republicans oppose citizenship as an option, and say they will only vote for reform under certain conditions.  Republican Representative Andy Harris:

“Maybe after we talk about securing the border, and maybe if we take pathways to citizenship off the table, other things might be open for negotiation.  But barring securing the border first and taking the pathway off the table, I’m afraid it’s a dead end in the House," said Harris.

One of the guests of first lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address was Cristian Avila, an immigrants' rights activist who recently fasted for 22 days to get Congress to act.  Avila said he wants to become a citizen and serve in the U.S. military.

“I think definitely citizenship is extremely important for us and for our families so we don’t create another second-class citizenship, right?" said Avila.
 
Avila says he and other immigrants will keep up the pressure on both Republicans and Democrats to pass immigration reform legislation.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid