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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

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