News / USA

Obama Calls For Continued Immigration Reform Push

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, May 12, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, May 12, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama says he will continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

In an address to the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast Thursday, President Obama said reforming the nation's immigration system is not just an economic or security imperative, but a "moral imperative."

The president said immigration is a subject that can feed people's "fears of change," but he called on Americans to show empathy and not forget that the nation's population is rooted in immigrants. He urged Hispanic community leaders to keep building the movement for change.

On Tuesday, President Obama challenged lawmakers to overhaul the immigration system, calling it "broken" and saying better laws would lessen the number of people illegally attempting to work in the U.S.

Speaking in the city of El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico, Obama proposed giving a path to citizenship to the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and making it easier for students from other countries to work and start businesses in the United States.

Observers say it is unlikely President Obama will get a comprehensive immigration bill passed in Congress.  Republicans control the House of Representatives, and the party is adamantly opposed to providing legal residency for undocumented immigrants, saying it amounts to an amnesty.  

The president has faced intense criticism from the Hispanic community for failing to promote the immigration issue during his first two years in office and for the deportation of nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants last year. In his speech in El Paso, the president acknowledged deportations are a source of controversy, but said enforcement efforts were focused on "violent offenders" and convicted criminals.

Hispanics, a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population, gave crucial support to Obama's 2008 election.  

In his speech Tuesday, Obama also defended his administration's efforts to secure the borders along the southwestern United States, saying they have resulted in more guns, currency and drugs being seized along the border, and fewer people trying to cross illegally.

The president blamed Republican lawmakers for delaying reform by demanding border security measures be completed first, and said he expected Republicans to continue blocking reform efforts despite the fact that, "all the stuff they have asked for, we have done."

But many Republican lawmakers are insisting that more be done to improve border security first. Many states have passed their own laws on the issue.  

Last year, the border state of Arizona passed a measure that would have allowed police officers to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Officials there say the law is needed to crack down on violent drug trafficking they say is spreading over the border from Mexico.

The Obama administration filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona's law, saying border security is a federal issue. A federal judge blocked key parts of the law in a ruling last year, but Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vowed to take the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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