News / USA

    Analysts Say Republicans Under Pressure on Immigration Reform

    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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora