News / USA

    US Political, Religious Leaders Advocate for Border Children

    Demonstrators march following a news conference of immigrant families and children's advocates responding to President Barack Obama's position on the crisis of unaccompanied children and families illegally entering the US, in front of the White House in W
    Demonstrators march following a news conference of immigrant families and children's advocates responding to President Barack Obama's position on the crisis of unaccompanied children and families illegally entering the US, in front of the White House in W
    Cindy Saine

    The plight of tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed over the southwest border into the United States this year continues to be the focus of heated debate in the U.S. Congress.

    Republican leaders are expressing frustration with Democratic President Barack Obama for his handling of the crisis. At the same time, a number of religious leaders are calling on the president and lawmakers not to do away with legal protections for the children, many of whom are fleeing violence.  

    Obama sparked debate earlier this week when he asked the U.S. Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of children crossing the U.S. border. Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Thursday afternoon that the house appropriations committee - which oversees spending measures - and a working group of lawmakers focusing on immigration issues are reviewing the proposal, but he added that the Republican-led House will not give the president a “blank check.”  

    Boehner reacted angrily to a question about whether Congress might be blamed for a worsening humanitarian crisis if it fails to approve the funds: “This is a problem of the president’s own making. He has been president for five and half years. When is he going to take responsibility for something?”

    Texas trip

    On a visit to the state of Texas, Obama rejected calls from a number of lawmakers for him to travel to the state's border to visit the holding cites for unaccompanied children. Speaking in Austin, the president blasted House Republicans for not holding a vote on immigration reform legislation, but did not address the crisis of child migrants.

    Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called on the Republican leaders in the House to move quickly to approve the president’s emergency request. She indicated there may be some wrangling, though, between Democrats and Republicans before any agreement is reached.

    “Really what is important is to get this supplemental.  What price we have to pay to do that, we will see in the course of the debate,” said Pelosi.

    Pelosi was asked if there would likely be changes made to an anti-human trafficking bill signed in 2008 that would make it easier to send Central American children back home. The measure gives children who are not from Canada and Mexico the legal right to stay in the United States until they are assigned a court date to hear their individual case. She said she does not support limiting legal protection for children.

    Children’s rights

    A number of religious leaders also have called on the president and Congress to leave those legal protections in place in a national teleconference. Mary Small, with the Jesuit Refugee Service, said, “We cannot risk expediting the deportation of children back into the hands of traffickers, smugglers and criminal groups. And we as a nation cannot roll back protections simply because more children are in need of them than we thought.”

    Bishop Minerva Carcano of the United Methodist Church in Los Angeles agrees, saying the migrant children already do not have the same rights as American children. “They are not provided with legal representation, and therefore run the risk of being deported without due process. If these children are returned to life jeopardizing circumstances, their possible early death will be on our conscience,” she said.

    Speaking with the religious leaders, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said she visited holding centers in Texas last week and was deeply troubled by what she saw.

    “Many, many young children crowded in jail like holding cells, including toddlers, some in diapers. These children were completely alone, they were sleeping on cement floors,” she said.

    Lofgren said older children were taking care of the younger ones. She called on members of Congress to put their differences aside to help the children who have survived the long and dangerous journey from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to reach the United States.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Thomas J. Corcoran from: Dalby, Scania, Sweden
    July 11, 2014 4:36 PM
    Immigration:

    Please keep in mind that Texas in particular was stolen from Mexico by immigrants from Georgia when Mexico abolished slavery. Yes, "Remember the Alamo," one more "proud" moment in American history but it is irrelevant as none of the countries involved have jurisdiction over Great Turtle Island, a.k.a. North America as it is all Native American / First Nation land.

    Please don't speak to me of the so-called "right of conquest" as that must mean that everything that I rob the local convenience store of is mine to keep if I have more firepower than the clerk does.

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 11, 2014 3:18 AM
    Somebody commented in an earlier post dealing with this subject that these children should be deported back to their 3rd world countries. Though that is a completely barbaric statement, I believe that deprtation should be considered here. Since it is estimated that 50,000 or more children have arrived illegally, then I say we deport 50,000 of the illegals that have been here and have committed crimes to US citizens, including DUI's. I would rather help children in need, illegally or not, anyday instead of turning the other cheek while illegal adults come here just to make things worse for us! I think that's a fair trade.

    Californians protesting illegal children. That's rich! I mean, their hearts gushed blood for the illegals before, overcrowding the schools, prisons, driver's licences, free food, free everything!!! But stabs these children in the back, who have a better chance at being an American. Make up your minds Californians!!!! And when you high-fiber,latte-drinking, holier-than- the-dirty-South, selves do make up your minds, then make SENSE ABOUT IT!!!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.