News / USA

    Thousands Rally for Immigration Reform Stalled by Government Shutdown

    Thousands Rally for Immigration Reform Stalled by Gov't Shutdowni
    X
    October 09, 2013 10:24 PM
    The U.S. government shutdown has stalled an immigration reform bill that could affect an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The measure could offer undocumented immigrants amnesty and a pathway to citizenship. For supporters, who rallied in Washington this week, each day the government remains closed is another blow to progress. But opponents argue the shutdown provides more time to discuss the controversial issue. Arash Arabasadi has more.
    The U.S. government shutdown has stalled an immigration reform bill that could affect an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  The measure could offer undocumented immigrants amnesty and a pathway to citizenship.  For supporters, who rallied in Washington this week, each day the government remains closed is another blow to progress.  But opponents argue the shutdown provides more time to discuss the controversial issue.

    It started with a few hundred people on the National Mall.  It swelled to several thousand by midafternoon.  There were familiar faces from the U.S. civil rights movement, and there was civil disobedience that led to the arrests of about 200 people. 

    At the center of the protest - an immigration reform bill passed in the Democrat-led Senate, but now stalled in the Republican-controlled House.

    “We are here to show support for all these people that have no documents, and the families that have been destroyed for these laws, and to bring support to everybody,” said Roberto from San Francisco in California.

    Juan Romero, who is living in Silver Spring, Maryland, said, “The people that are here, that have came to this country - either way, illegally or legally - that it’s time to create a path towards citizenship.”

    But opponents argued against giving amnesty to those here illegally.

    "This is supposedly a rally for dignity for illegal aliens.  People that basically broke our laws.  Wait a second.  What happened here?  What’s wrong with this picture that somebody who broke our laws is now asking for dignity, or demanding dignity, I suppose.  It’s bizarre,” said Jim McDonald of Alexandria in Virginia.

    The amnesty question along with the government shutdown have indefinitely stalled the bill.

    “As long as the president insists on having amnesty attached to any sort of immigration reform, that’s not policy the American people should embrace and something that won’t pass Congress.  So the fact that that’s delayed because of the real, important issues… I don’t see that there’s a downside to that,” said Dan Holler of the conservative group, Heritage Action for America.

    Back on the Mall, there’s a different feeling that immigration reform will pass this year.

    “I’m here today because enough is enough," said Rev. Scott Marks from New Haven, Connecticut. "We need immigration reform now!”

    “Because everybody has family here.  They come here, working hard.  And I would like everybody to have the freedom to speak [and] to work without fear of being deported,” said Ires Bares from Chantilly in Virginia.

    “We spend money.  Forget humanitarian reasons.  Look at the green.  We spend money.  You need us.  We pay for your lifestyle.  When you retire the check is coming from our paychecks.  So wake up.  Come and join us,” he said.

    It remains unclear when or if the budget stalemate will end.  Until then, the U.S. government continues operating with limited staffing, while many bills before the U.S. Congress remain at an impasse.

    Arash Arabasadi

    Arash Arabasadi is an award-winning multimedia journalist with a decade of experience shooting, producing, writing and editing. He has reported from conflicts in Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Ukraine, as well as domestically in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Arash has also been a guest lecturer at Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown University, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Ashley and their two dogs.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora