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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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