News / USA

    Immigration Activists Press US Lawmakers on Citizenship for the Undocumented

    Immigration Activists Press US Lawmakers on Citizenship for the Undocumentedi
    X
    August 28, 2013 10:07 PM
    The fate of U.S. immigration reform could be decided in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives after Congress returns next month from a five-week recess. In the first of a two-part report, VOA’s Michael Bowman examines efforts to pressure lawmakers in favor of a path to citizenship for the undocumented -- the most-contentious element of immigration reform.
    Michael Bowman
    The fate of U.S. immigration reform could be decided in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives after Congress returns next month from a five-week recess.  In the first of a two-part report, we examine efforts to pressure lawmakers in favor of a path to citizenship for the undocumented -- the most-contentious element of immigration reform.
     
    While Congress was in summer recess, hundreds of activists converged on the California district of Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, hoping to change his position on immigration reform.
     
    Their demand: a House vote on a comprehensive immigration reform package that would allow 11 million undocumented immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens. Organizer Dolores Huerta believes is should be everyone’s right.
     
    “Every immigrant group that has come to the United States has been able to get citizenship, from the Founding Fathers, who were the first immigrants who came here, to the most recent ones who are here now,” said Huerta.
     
    McCarthy was not present when demonstrators entered his district office. But a statement on the congressman’s website rules out a path to citizenship: “We should not provide any amnesty that would benefit those who defy our laws and enter the United States illegally.”
     
    McCarthy’s position mirrors that of most House Republicans who have not been swayed by pro-immigration reform demonstrations in congressional districts across the country.  Activists need to re-think their tactics, according to Republican strategist John Feehery.
     
    “The single most counter-productive thing that immigration activists can do is go into a Republican office and protest.  The single most effective thing they can do is register in a Republican primary [election] and promise to vote against any Republican that does not support immigration reform.
     
    The Washington-based coordinator of the pro-reform lobbying effort, Frank Sharry, disagrees.
     
    “Politics is about pressure. It is about organizing, it is about mobilizing. It is about getting your voice heard,” says he.
     
    Sharry adds that lawmakers are feeling pressure from a broad coalition, not just street activists.
     
    “They are hearing from the immigrants in their community, the business people, the tech entrepreneurs, the evangelical pastors, the Catholic bishops, and union leaders. That is a pretty unusual thing in American politics. So we are hopeful,” adds Sharry.
     
    But House Speaker John Boehner has ruled out a vote on the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate, preferring to start with law enforcement.
     
    “It is clear that securing our borders and having the ability to enforce our immigration laws is the first big step in this process,” says Boehner.
     
    Strategist Feehery says the Republican approach enjoys broad support.
     
    “Poll after poll show the Republican [voter] base does not want a so-called 'amnesty' bill to pass. And anything of a comprehensive nature is called amnesty. So that makes it difficult for Republican leaders to get that necessary legislative fix done,” says Feehery.
     
    Democrats, meanwhile, will not support any bill that excludes a path to citizenship. And so the political stand-off on immigration reform drags on despite activists' efforts.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.