News / USA

    McCain: 'We Are Not Winning' Push for US Immigration Reform

    FILE - U.S. Senator John McCain, flanked by fellow senator, Robert Menendez (R), speaks to the media after the Senate passed the immigration reform bill, on Capitol Hill, June 27, 2013.FILE - U.S. Senator John McCain, flanked by fellow senator, Robert Menendez (R), speaks to the media after the Senate passed the immigration reform bill, on Capitol Hill, June 27, 2013.
    x
    FILE - U.S. Senator John McCain, flanked by fellow senator, Robert Menendez (R), speaks to the media after the Senate passed the immigration reform bill, on Capitol Hill, June 27, 2013.
    FILE - U.S. Senator John McCain, flanked by fellow senator, Robert Menendez (R), speaks to the media after the Senate passed the immigration reform bill, on Capitol Hill, June 27, 2013.
    Reuters
    U.S. Senator John McCain admitted on Thursday that he and other backers of immigration reform “are not winning,” and must boost efforts to get the House of Representatives to pass such a bill.
     
    McCain said proponents - who include businesses, churches and labor - will wage an aggressive campaign in selective congressional districts next month to make the case for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.
     
    “Here is a fact: We are not winning,” the Arizona Republican told reporters. “So we have to wage a campaign. That doesn't mean a negative campaign. It means a positive campaign.”
     
    “You need to respond to things that are said. You need to build support. You need to network,” McCain said.
     
    The Democratic-led Senate last month overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill crafted by McCain and seven of his colleagues, but it was declared dead on arrival in the Republican-led House.
     
    Most of the opposition to the White House-backed bill is over a provision that would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
     
    Backers say the pathway would draw undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and make them productive and tax-paying members of the American way of life, improving the U.S. economy.
     
    Critics argue that the pathway would amount to “amnesty,” and attract more illegal immigrants into the country.

    The economic factor

    McCain and two fellow co-authors of the Senate bill, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, recently met with tech giants, including Google, Intel and Microsoft, to discuss the campaign for immigration reform, aides said.
     
    They plan to target more than 100 House Republicans who are seen as at least open to the possibility of voting for immigration reform, which would help provide business with needed high- and low-skilled workers, aides said.
     
    “There are many members of the House who don't want to take up any bill at all,” said McCain.
     
    McCain and others initially predicted that if the Senate passed an immigration bill with strong bipartisan support, it would pressure the House to consider it.

    Hoping for compromise

    The comprehensive bill passed 68-32, but House Republican leaders have refused to even bring it up. Backers are now hoping that the House simply passes a limited bill.
     
    That would trigger a House-Senate conference where negotiators could try to combine the two measures into a single new piece of legislation.
     
    Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, another co-author of the Senate bill, said, “I wouldn't say we are losing. But when you have a battle, you are constantly engaged.”
     
    Menendez said even though Congress will be on recess in August, it will be a pivotal month for immigration reform.
     
    “We need the entire universe of people who care about immigration reform to be active next month,” Menendez said. “If we do that, we will be well positioned for the fall in the House. If we don't, we will run a risk.”
     
    Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a leading foe of the Senate bill, dismissed the effort as “an act of desperation.”
     
    “The problems with the Senate bill can't be fixed with new TV ads,” he said.

    Religious groups mobilize

    On Thursday, more than 90 Catholic college presidents sent letters to all Catholic House members, including Speaker John Boehner, urging them to support a comprehensive immigration bill.
     
    “We hope that as you face intense political pressure from powerful interest groups, you will draw wisdom and moral courage from our shared faith tradition. Catholic teaching values the human dignity and worth of all immigrants, regardless of legal status. We remind you that no human being made in the image of God is illegal,” they wrote.
     
    In a telephone conference with reporters, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins was asked about other actions the university presidents would take to get House members to pass an immigration bill.
     
    “We thought about revoking their degrees,” Jenkins joked before admitting, “We don't have a lot of authority over them.”
     
    Catholic organizations are planning radio ads, telephone “town halls” with local Catholic leaders, newspaper op-eds and other events to rally support.
     
    Boehner, at his weekly news conference, stood firm on his position that the House would pass “common-sense” legislation.
     
    “Americans expect, as a nation of laws, that we'll enforce them - starting at the border,” Boehner said. “They expect that no one who broke our laws will get special treatment.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora