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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid