News / USA

Battle for US Immigration Reform Gathers Steam

Battle for US Immigration Reform Moves on Ahead of State of the Union Addressi
X
February 06, 2013 12:28 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make immigration reform a priority in his State of the Union Address. But already, talk of tackling this controversial issue is gaining momentum. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make immigration reform a priority in his State of the Union Address.  But already, talk of tackling this controversial issue is gaining momentum.

There are an estimated 11-million illegal immigrants in the United States with more still hoping to cross the border.

Claudia Hernandez came here as a child, and like many in her situation, she feels she belongs in the U.S. 

"I have been here more than half of my life, and I respect the United States. This is my country," she said.

Only days into his second term, President Obama began the push for change.

"The time has come for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform," he stated. "The time is now."

Already, Congress has begun to hold hearings.

And a bipartisan group of senators, including former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, is pushing ahead with a plan of its own.

"We have been too content for too long to allow individuals to mow our lawn, serve us food, clean our homes and even watch our children while not affording them any of the benefits that make our country so great," McCain said.

The bi-partisan plan calls for tighter border controls as well as a path to citizenship, something President Obama insists upon.

That worries Jim Gilchrist. He founded the Minuteman Project, a citizen's group that helps guard the border.

"If we are going to grant amnesty to 15 to 30-million people, who are here illegally now, we are going to be granting amnesty to 300 million," he added. "Who will follow them over the next several decades."

Other activists and lawmakers say proposals to secure the borders don't go far enough - even though the United States spends more money on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement activities combined.

In the meantime, the pressure is on - both President Obama and Congress.

Janet Murguia heads La Raza, the largest U.S. Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group.  "The reality is that Hispanic and Latin voters went to the polls on election day with the economy on their minds, but with immigration reform in their hearts," she said.

With the State of the Union address as a platform, advocates on all sides of the issue are hoping something gets done, all too aware such hopes have been dashed before.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid