News / USA

    Despite Surge in Child Immigrants, US Immigration Reform Stalls

    FILE - This June 18, 2014, file photo shows children detainees sleeping in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.
    FILE - This June 18, 2014, file photo shows children detainees sleeping in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.
    Cindy Saine

    A year after the United States Senate passed comprehensive immigration legislation, a leading Democratic advocate for reform says efforts to get similar laws passed in the House of Representatives have failed and he is giving up. 

    Debate on the issue now focuses on a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America coming into the United States, with lawmakers from both parties blaming each other for the crisis.

    Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez has been trying for months to get House Republicans to sit down with Democrats to agree on immigration reform legislation. Republicans say they cannot trust President Barack Obama to enforce current laws, however, and have not allowed a vote.

    Gutierrez this week took to the House floor, and said he is giving Republicans a red card.

    "First of all your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year is over. Having been given ample time and space to craft legislation, you failed,” he said.

    Unlikely passage

    Many analysts say there is little chance of immigration reform getting through this year. 

    “I think especially for the rest of this year with the midterm elections coming up, the chances are incredibly slim of them actually taking action. But the topic is not going to go away and the debate is not going to go away by any means,” said Emily Ethridge, with the congressional news and analysis outlet CQ-Roll Call.

    Now, however, congressional anger is flaring in response to a surge of 52,000 children from Central America who have made the journey through Mexico to illegally enter the United States. The children are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and they are filling holding centers along the border with Mexico.  

    Republicans blame President Obama for the flow, because of what they consider lenient immigration policies.

    “It is for President Obama to make a public appearance to walk back his continued flouting of U.S. immigration and border security policy, and tell the world that the United States will protect its borders, while discouraging families from risking their lives and the lives of their children unnecessarily,” said Republican Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona.

    In an interview with ABC News, President Obama said he has a message for parents in Central America: "do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may [or] may not make it.”

    Human smugglers

    Political analysts say desperate parents in the three violence-plagued Central American countries often pay smuggling rings to transport their children in buses or on top of trains to the U.S. Democratic and Republican lawmakers agree that human smugglers and drug cartels are spreading misinformation by saying the children will be given permission to stay.  

    Democrats blamed House Republicans for the crisis because they have not allowed a vote on immigration reform.

    “The fact is that if we had passed either the Senate or the House bill, there were resources for both border security, international cooperation and it would have outlined a path for clear legal migration to this country,” said Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro.

    Both sides agree that the plight of children, many of them girls under the age of 13, arriving alone, exhausted and hungry at the U.S. border is a humanitarian crisis.

    Emily Ethridge said Congress is likely to appropriate more money for the U.S. border control authorities to help the children.

    “So the amount of money that the administration needs to find these children, apprehend them, put them in shelters, take care of them, put them through legal proceedings - they just need way more money.  And so Congress is definitely going to give more money for that," Ethridge said.

    Unaccompanied children from Central America are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, and given a court date to decide their fate. Many of the children end up being reunited with family members already in the United States, but some are deported.

     

    You May Like

    Clinton, Kaine Project Optimism in First Joint Campaign Event

    Kaine, a moderate, has potential to attract voters repelled by Donald Trump and those who may have a hard time fully embracing Clinton

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Way to go America from: Minnesota
    July 03, 2014 9:51 AM
    Amazingly we are suddenly hearing about violence in Honduras,Salvador... Where was the media to report that???How about to bring everybody from Syria,Irak,Nigeria,Congo....I believe there is a humanitarian crisis. One thing will fix the problem"E-verify".It is time for the government to stand up to these corporations.

    by: Time2change from: Virginia
    June 29, 2014 9:37 PM
    As an immigrant who came here legally and became a naturalized citizen I believe that we need to make sure the politicians we elect enforce our laws and send illegals back to their countries. We have to start taking care of our own citizens. Children or not - if they came here illegally they need to go back to their home country.

    by: David from: Chicago
    June 28, 2014 12:11 PM
    Many of the children end up being reunited with family members already in the United States, but some are deported.

    ____________________
    This explains why they keep coming. The human traffickers are right when they tell the parents in Central America that if their kids manage to get into in the United States, they will be allowed to stay and the American welfare state will take care of their material needs. And the children will then later be able to bring their parents. It's a win/win proposition for the smugglers and the illegal immigrants. The tide will only increase so long as illegal immigration is rewarded.

    by: Anonymous
    June 28, 2014 10:27 AM
    U.S. Constitution, Article 4 Section 4:
    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, AND SHALL PROTECT EACH OF THEM AGAINST INVASION.
    Instead of upholding his sworn oath to protect the states against this invasion, our rogue president is aiding and assisting the invaders, by ordering the Border Patrol to NOT do their duty, but instead, to stand aside as our borders are trampled and overrun. In fact, the Border Patrol's function has been inverted, and they have become the babysitters and bus service to the invaders, sending tens of thousands of criminal aliens into the American heartland. Many Border Patrol agents have contracted TB and other diseases from these unscreened invaders. When will this travesty end? When will our rogue president be forced to uphold his sworn oath to protect the states against invasion?

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 28, 2014 3:51 AM
    This is just another pathetic look into the 'real world' of US politics. Why hasn't Hollywood done a reality show with politicians? One good thing is that America, the country I love dearly, will not turn it's back on children. For every issue plaguing the USA, Republicans blame the Democrats; change the channel and the Democrats blame the Republicans. Will someone please call the Capitol Building and tell these morons that America is failing......because of THEM!!!!

    One thing the Repubs are correct about is that the laws are already there, ENFORCE THEM!!! The Repubs also know that Democs want to pass bills that will gaurantee votership, regardless of the consequences on our already fledgling economy. If the Democs pass the laws they want, then it won't be just Central Americans fleeing to the US! China will say "wow, the US has surpassed our population numbers in just under a month!"

    This is how the Democ machine is spinning this issue. Remember when Arizona passed a law that allowed law enforcement to check immigration status, if suspected. In other words, a policeperson (PC!) can pull a car over and ask for proof of citizenship or immigration status? California protested, even refused to allow Arizona Tea or Arizona sports teams across the border. CNN/NBC/MSNBC/BBC/TNT/MTV/M-O-U-S-E!, whatever, except for FOX News (of course!) blasted away at the Arizona governor because she was a Republican bully! (Check this one, what I am about to tell you, it's there for all to read!) North Carolina passed the SAME EXACT law at the SAME time as Arizona, but not a single peep from any of the communist (oooops, I mean Democrat) sympathizing channels made any mention of NC passing the SAME EXACT law. Why, you ask? NC is mostly Democ and the governor is Democ. No thanks if this seemed to be pro-Repub, can't stand to watch Fox News, yuk, all that uppity white-bread, but Kelly is hotttt! They blast away at the Democs, even though that party is run by incompetence. Repubs wanted Mitt Romney for prezzie? So that means the Repub party is definitely finished! Mitt Romney? It would have made more sense to vote for Jon Stewart, than Mitt!!!!!! Yeah, I'm a Reagan-ite, but Repub-bashing Jon Stewart is hilariously awesome!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora