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

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora