News / USA

Washington Focuses on Immigration Reform

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 4, 2012. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 4, 2012.
x
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 4, 2012.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 4, 2012.
VOA News
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are discussing ways to fix an immigration system officials across party lines describe as "broken."

Those who testified Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee included immigrants, immigration experts and the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julian Castro, who delivered the keynote address at the Democrats' presidential nominating convention in September.

At the start of the hearing, Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the House's immigration subcommittee, urged his colleagues to act to "harmonize" two precepts: humanity and respect for the rule of law. He said U.S. citizens will be watching.

"They will be watching, skeptically, to see if we are serious about enforcing the rule of law," said Gowdy. "Are we serious about ending the insidious practice of human trafficking? Are we serious about punishing those who prey on folks with false promises and fraudulent documents? Are we serious about border security and employment verification? Are we serious about making this the last 'last time' we have this conversation, or are we simply playing political games with people's lives and undercutting the respect for the rule of law, which ironically is the very reason they seek to come to this country in the first place? We shall see."

U.S. President Barack Obama was also discussing immigration reform Tuesday, holding separate meetings at the White House with labor and business leaders.

Last week in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mr. Obama said "now is the time" for "common-sense" reform to settle the status of the 11-million people estimated to be living in the country illegally.

He unveiled his goals for a new law, including smarter and stronger border enforcement, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and improvement of the legal immigration system to attract the world's "best and brightest" people to the United States.

The president's speech came after a group of Democratic and Republican senators offered a set of proposed immigration reforms.  

Under the bipartisan plan, illegal immigrants would register with the government, pass background checks, pay any fines and taxes they still owe and complete other steps to earn "probationary" status that would allow them to live and work in the United States legally.

The plan would include exceptions for children who entered the United States with their parents and were educated in the country, and for agricultural workers who play a role in maintaining the nation's food supply.

The new plan also would tighten enforcement of immigration regulations, with a requirement for employers to verify the workers they hire can legally work in the U.S.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the members of the bipartisan group, says lawmakers have an obligation to address the situation of those in the country illegally while also treating fairly those seeking citizenship through legal channels.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid