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.
    Arash Arabasadi
    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.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.