News / USA

US House Democrats Push for Unlikely Vote on Immigration Reform

Actress America Ferrera, surrounded by House Democrats and immigration leaders, speaks during a new conference to announce a DemandAVote discharge petition, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, March 26, 2014.
Actress America Ferrera, surrounded by House Democrats and immigration leaders, speaks during a new conference to announce a DemandAVote discharge petition, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, March 26, 2014.
Cindy Saine
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a petition to try to force a vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate last year, legislation that remains stalled in the Republican-controlled House. Republican House leaders, who hold the majority, say they prefer a step-by-step approach to a massive immigration reform bill, leading even Democrats to conclude their maneuver today has little chance of success.

Braving strong winds and snow showers, some Democratic lawmakers and immigrants’ rights activists gathered Wednesday on the East Front steps of the U.S. Capitol. Democratic Congressman Javier Becerra said nothing could stop them from asking Republican House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on immigration reform.

“Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, right?” said Becerra.

Later, Democrats staged a procedural maneuver on the floor on the House of Representatives to try to force a vote on the immigration package. The Republican leadership has said it is not planning a vote, in part, because they say they don't trust President Barack Obama to enforce immigration laws.

One Democratic member after another asked the Republican who held the floor to hold a vote on immigration. Here is one exchange between Representatives Janice Schakowksi and Doug Collins:

“I ask unanimous consent to bring up HR 15 to demand a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill that unites our families,” said Schakowski. "The chair understands that the gentlemen from Utah has not yielded for that purpose, and therefore unanimous consent requests cannot be entertained," said Collins.

Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro conceded to VOA that the so-called discharge petition to force a vote is highly unlikely to get the 218 required signatures.

“You know and it works every once in a while, there is no question that it is a tough thing to do, it is not an easy process. But you know, we are hoping on this, where there is so much public support, and where we know by the numbers that if you put a bill on the floor today, there are enough folks who support it that it would pass,” said Castro.

Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart is one of a bipartisan group that has been working to craft some form of immigration compromise, which would include Republican demands for stricter border controls and Democratic demands that an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already living in the United States gain legal status. Diaz-Balart told VOA the action on the House floor was political theater.

“The reality is this, that there is a number of us who have been working and trying to get immigration reform. If we are going to get it done, and I think we will, it has to  be done in a bipartisan way,” said Diaz-Balart.

In a statement, the president said he “applauds the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves.” The president has come under increasing pressure from immigrant families to provide relief to undocumented people who fear deportation. Analysts say any substantial legislative action on immigration reform is unlikely ahead of midterm congressional elections this November.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

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