News / USA

    House Republicans Reject 'Massive' Immigration Bill

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., speaks with reporters after House Republicans worked on an approach to immigration reform in a closed-door meeting, July 10, 2013.
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., speaks with reporters after House Republicans worked on an approach to immigration reform in a closed-door meeting, July 10, 2013.
    Cindy Saine
    Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives are rejecting the sweeping immigration reform bill passed in the Senate.  Leaders of the Republican majority say they plan to take a step-by-step approach aimed at slowing momentum toward reform that would provide legal status for the estimated 11 million people now living in the United States illegally.  

    Members of the majority Republican conference in the House of Representatives met with their leaders late Wednesday to discuss how to react to comprehensive immigration reform passed last month in the Senate.  Republican leaders in the House agree with Democrats that the U.S. immigration system is broken, but they said in a statement that they reject a single, massive "Obamacare-like" bill.  Republican House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte told reporters the House plans to:

    "Take a step-by-step, careful approach, holding hearings and examining and marking up individual bills so that we do not make the same mistakes made in 1986," said Goodlatte.

    In 1986, then-president Ronald Reagan, a Republican, signed a bill granting amnesty to 3 million people.  Chairman Goodlatte said Republican lawmakers are concerned the same thing could happen with the Senate bill, and they want to see border security and internal regulations enforced before any action is taken on legalizing immigrants already here without documents.  Republican Representative Michele Bachmann strongly rejected Democratic demands for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    "The only thing we are supporting right now is to actually build the fence," said Bachmann.

    Earlier in the day, about 500 young immigrants and their parents gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to hold a mock citizenship ceremony to declare they are ready to be recognized as Americans.  Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez called on House Republicans to seize the moment.  He said that with the help of Democratic votes, the House could easily get the 218 votes needed to pass immigration reform.

    "And we say to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives let the people's will be heard.  You know and I know that 218 votes exist for comprehensive immigration reform, and all we ask you is for five minutes on the floor of the House," said Gutierrez.

    Lorella Praeli, who now lives in Washington and comes from Peru, said Hispanic voters are watching closely to see what Republicans do on the issue.

    "So I think that they have an opportunity here to decide whether or not they want to be a party of the future or a party of the past," said Praeli.

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost in 2012 to Democratic President Barack Obama by a margin of 27 to 71 percent among Hispanics.  But analysts say many House members come from solidly, mostly white Republican districts, and are more concerned about holding their own seats rather than the next presidential election.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora