News / USA

Obama Renews Push for US Immigration Reform

Protesters calling for comprehensive immigration reform gather on the Washington Mall, Oct. 8, 2013.
Protesters calling for comprehensive immigration reform gather on the Washington Mall, Oct. 8, 2013.
Michael Bowman
— Thursday, President Barack Obama urged a renewed bipartisan commitment to confront the nation’s challenges, and signaled he will press Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Earlier this year, the Senate approved an overhaul of America’s often-criticized immigration system. The bill would strengthen U.S. border security and provide a long and arduous path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

But the initiative has languished in the Republican-led House of Representatives, where many members view legalization of the undocumented as amnesty for law-breakers.

Thursday, Obama said immigration reform remains a priority.

“We should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system," he said. "The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it is sitting there waiting for the House to pass it.”

Despite Washington’s recent focus on fiscal matters, proponents of immigration reform have kept up efforts to rally public opinion and pressure lawmakers. Conventional wisdom holds that Congress must act this year if reform is to succeed, since lawmakers will shy from casting politically-charged votes before next year’s midterm elections.

Reform advocate Frank Sharry says time is of the essence. He said, “I think it is going to be critical that the House of Representatives begins to address this issue, has votes.  I think it is critical that we see action this year."

Sharry adds that plenty of time remains on the House calendar between now and December, if Republican leaders choose to bring legislation forward.

Opponents of the Senate bill say it faces stiff opposition in the House of Representatives. The head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, says House lawmakers may consider something that falls short of full citizenship for the undocumented.

“They [House Republicans] would simply give those 11-million illegal immigrants work visas," he said." A work visa would make you legal, but you would not have any option to become a citizen.”

Immigration reform advocates, including Obama, reject any proposal that does not contain a path to citizenship.  Even so, on Thursday Obama said an eventual House bill need not be identical to the Senate version.

“If the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let us hear them," he said. "Let us start the negotiations.”

After the president spoke, House Democrats issued a statement echoing his call for action.
But Mark Krikorian says the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate have different visions for immigration reform, and he doubts they can be reconciled.

“The House is going to pass some targeted bills, and they are not going to be able to agree with the Senate on a common bill that they would send to the White House, and so nothing is going to end up on the president’s desk,” he said.

If immigration reform fails this year, Krikorian says the outcome of next year’s congressional elections will determine the initiative’s chances in 2015.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid