News / USA

Leaked White House Proposal Complicates Immigration Reform Effort

Michael Bowman
Harsh words in Washington are revealing the tough political challenge when it comes to reforming America’s immigration system. A leaked Obama administration draft bill may have disrupted delicate, closed-door negotiations between Democratic and Republican lawmakers attempting to craft comprehensive bipartisan legislation.

What will become of more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States?  An administration proposal leaked to a U.S. newspaper would establish a path to permanent legal residency - a gateway to eventual citizenship.

But Republican lawmakers are angry over the disclosure, accusing President Obama of preempting bipartisan efforts.

“By giving advantage to those who cut in front of the line for immigrants who come here legally, not dealing with border security adequately, that tells me he is looking for partisan advantage,” said Congressman Paul Ryan.

“Does the president want a result?  Or does he want another cudgel [weapon] to beat up Republicans?,” said Senator John McCain

In fact, Obama had already put Capitol Hill on notice.

“If Congress cannot come up with a plan in a timely fashion, I will send up mine,” Obama said.

As lawmakers’ tempers flared, White House officials scrambled to respond.

“I hope that Republicans and Democrats up there do not get involved in some kind of typical Washington back-and-forth sideshow here and rather just roll up their sleeves and get to work,” said the president’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

Reform proponents say America has a rare opportunity to act. “For the first time ever, there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it,” said  Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.

But opponents fear reform efforts will encourage more illegal immigration.  Jim Gilchrist founded a citizens’ group that patrols America’s border with Mexico.

"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 who will follow them over the next several decades," he said.

Yet analysts see an emerging consensus in Washington on immigration reform.  

“There is agreement on the need for more border security.  There is agreement on the need for mandatory employment verification.  There is agreement on doing something with unauthorized immigrants and allowing them some level of legal status,” said Michelle Mittelstadt of the Migration Policy Institute.

But friction over the White House draft bill shows that change is far from assured.

“This [initiative] could blow up [fall apart] at any moment.  I think this controversy over the leaked White House proposal and the very strong reaction from Republicans is just a sign of how high the stakes are and the fact that this will remain a very complicated and contentious process,” Mittelstadt said.

Obama has advocated immigration reform since taking office.  Republicans have warmed to the initiative since last year’s presidential contest, which Mr. Obama won with strong support from Hispanic and Asian voters.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jess from: USA
February 19, 2013 10:51 PM
“Does the president want a result? Or does he want another cudgel [weapon] to beat up Republicans?,” said Senator John McCain

The above quote is so irritating. The author who used this direct quote in a news article felt the need to define a word for my benefit. The uncorrected spelling and grammar errors you think I don't notice in many online articles are one thing, but deciding that a word is outside my scope of vocabulary is extra irritating. Don't you know I have the Internet? Or, shockingly, access to a dictionary? I can look it up if I don't get it and then I'll have an accurate definition.

by: Kurt Thialfad from: San Rafael
February 19, 2013 1:55 AM
If these million receive citizenship, would they give up their previous citizenship? The oath of allegiance requires you to, but many committ perjury. Will these new citizens be unprosecuted? Remember they already have a criminal background.

by: Cinthya
February 19, 2013 12:00 AM
Drop the i-word! When you use "illegal" to describe people you are using a slur and it dehumanizes them.

by: Danny Williams from: San Diego
February 18, 2013 10:21 PM
Illegal aliens are NOT important for America. Americans are important. Send them home..all of them. We can easily rid our country of 11,000,000 illegal aliens...Mexico did.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More