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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.