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    Immigration Debate Divides Republicans

    Immigration Debate Divides Republicansi
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    August 06, 2013 8:42 PM
    Supporters of immigration reform say they will be out in force this month pressuring members of Congress to pass legislation that establishes a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Senate has passed a comprehensive reform bill but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is moving more slowly, as VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Immigration Debate Divides Republicans
    Supporters of immigration reform say they will be out in force this month pressuring members of Congress to pass legislation that establishes a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Senate has passed a comprehensive reform bill but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is moving more slowly.

    Supporters of immigration reform rally near the Capitol in Washington, hoping to convince lawmakers to act. House Republicans appear to be in no hurry, though, including Congressman Steve King of Iowa.

    King recently sparked anger when he dismissed many young immigrants as drug smugglers in an interview with Newsmax TV. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they are hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he said.

    Among those condemning King was Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner. “What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party. We all need to do our work in a constructive, open and respectful way.”

    The immigration debate has divided Republicans in Congress, especially over a path to citizenship. Many conservatives see that as amnesty for those who entered the country illegally.

    Carroll Doherty, with the Pew Research Center in Washington, said, “They look confused about which direction to head and even about some of the basic principles of their philosophy. Do they present a more moderate face on issues like gay marriage and immigration or not?”

    Moderate Republicans favor passing some version of immigration reform, said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “This is a signal to Hispanics, to Asians, to other minorities that we care about your plight because we understand that you are not going to listen to what we have to say on policy if you think we are going to deport your grandmother.”

    House Republicans say they will not follow the Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive bill. Their first priority is shoring up the U.S. border with Mexico.

    Despite the slow progress in the House, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi remains upbeat. “I’m optimistic about it because it has to happen. We just cannot let this languish,” she said.

    Failing to reach out to minority voters could have enormous consequences for a Republican Party trying to change its image, said O’Connell.

    “That the Republicans are only concerned about white voters and they are not concerned about the rank and file voter, and I hate to tell people that if you kill immigration reform, in the long run you could wind up killing the Republican Party,” he said.

    The House resumes debate on immigration when lawmakers return to Washington next month.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Charles Edward Brown
    August 06, 2013 4:08 PM
    NO AMNESTY and NO PATHWAY to US Citizenship for illegal aliens living in the United States. We need our immigration laws enforced by the Federal Government. We tried Amnesty in 1986 and it failed. We need to deport all illegal aliens, secure the border and fine anyone who hires an illegal alien. We should make E-Verify both Mandatory and retro-active so that employers can ID all the illegal aliens who are currently working for them and fire them.
    In Response

    by: wigglwagon
    August 06, 2013 9:50 PM
    Kevin, why do you think legal workers and their families should be forced into unemployment and poverty just to make room for those workers who refuse to abide by the law.


    Does your summary of what took place in the 16 and 17 hundreds mean that you think America should not have immigration laws? Just HOW MANY immigrants should be legally admitted every year?
    In Response

    by: kevin
    August 06, 2013 7:36 PM
    You are being to harsh, yeah their illegal, but so are us Americans (basically). we met the natives and they helped us hunt food and taught us how to survive.. back then we we're the "immigrants" and we stabbed them in the back and we now claim to be American Citizens, makes no difference, we're no different, we're worse

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