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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    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 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 A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    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 First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora