News / USA

Senate Republicans Push Tougher Border Plans in US Immigration Bill

A patrol car is seen through a fence on the US-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas (file photo).A patrol car is seen through a fence on the US-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas (file photo).
x
A patrol car is seen through a fence on the US-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas (file photo).
A patrol car is seen through a fence on the US-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas (file photo).
Reuters
Two leading Republican senators on Wednesday unveiled proposals requiring much tighter security on the U.S.-Mexico border before undocumented immigrants could gain legal status under the broad immigration bill the Senate is considering.
 
The two separate amendments by John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, and Rand Paul, a potential 2016 presidential contender, are likely to draw fire from many Democrats who have said such provisions would erode the path to citizenship at the heart of the White House-backed bill.
 
Both senators would establish strict benchmarks for border security that would need to be met as a condition of granting legal status and a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants.
 
“My idea takes border security a step further than anybody else in Congress,” Paul, of Kentucky, said in a statement. His proposal would require Congress to write a border security plan and take votes each year on whether it has achieved its goals.
 
Cornyn, of Texas, would require the government to have the capability to monitor all portions of the southern border and stop at least 90 percent of people trying to cross the border illegally.
 
The full Senate is expected to begin work next week on the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in nearly three decades. The bill would authorize billions in new spending for enhanced border security and would create new visa programs for high- and low-skilled workers.
 
Both Republican and Democratic senators are likely offer a crush of amendments to bolster border security, considered by critics to be a weak link in broad immigration reform.
 
Skeptics of immigration reform warn of the risk of a repeat of 1986 when President Ronald Reagan signed sweeping legislation that offered amnesty to three million undocumented immigrants, but failed to obtain the level of border security that backers of the measure had anticipated. These critics complain that the 1986 amnesty ended up attracting more illegal immigrants.
 
Democrats have vowed to fight any amendments - including those on border security - that would create too many obstacles to the 13-year path to citizenship in the Senate bill.
 
The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who wrote the immigration bill are trying to preserve Democratic priorities in the legislation while courting enough Republican votes to ensure its passage.
 
Challenge in House

Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Gang of Eight and also a potential 2016 White House candidate, is leading the effort to reach out to Republicans.
 
An aide to Rubio said the Florida senator's staff has been “working closely with Cornyn's office” on parts of his border-security amendment for weeks. In a series of television and radio appearances, Rubio has defended the bill but also said he would like to some changes to it, including more stringent border provisions.
 
Rubio and Paul were among several Senate Republicans who met on Wednesday with conservative House of Representatives Republicans to discuss the immigration issue.
 
Comprehensive immigration is expected to face its biggest challenge in the Republican-led House, where many conservatives view the provision to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants as amnesty to people who broke the law.
 
In addition to Rubio and Paul, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Sessions of Alabama were also scheduled to attend the meeting with House Republicans.
 
Flake is a member of the Senate "Gang of Eight." Paul has signaled he is open to supporting the bill but wants to see stronger border-security provisions and other changes.
 
Cruz and Lee are both skeptics of the immigration bill and Sessions is one of the Senate's most vocal critics of the legislation.
 
At a breakfast with reporters on Wednesday, Representative Tom Price of Georgia, a leading conservative voice in the House, expressed skepticism that a majority of Republicans in his chamber would support a bill that included a path to citizenship.
 
“I think at this point that would be highly unlikely because I don't think there's any trust of our conference in the administration to enforce current laws that are on the books as they relate to much of immigration,” Price said.

You May Like

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs