News / USA

US Senate Votes to Consider Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

US Senate Votes to Consider Citizenship for Illegal Immigrantsi
X
June 12, 2013 11:45 AM
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to consider a bill that would offer a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports that the vote came after heated debate in the chamber, and that the bill still faces an uncertain future.

US Senate Votes to Consider Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to consider a bill that would offer a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. The vote came after heated debate in the chamber, and the bill still faces an uncertain future.
 
“This is a time I’ve been looking for for a long long time,” admitted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, acknowledging the momentousness of winning bipartisan support for immigration reform.
 
Democrats and Republicans agreed that an immigration system that has allowed 11 million undocumented foreigners into the country needs fixing.
 
Marco Rubio, himself a son of Cuban immigrants, said it also scares away skilled professionals.

“Should we be deporting the best graduates at some of our universities, world class physicists and scientists and people in technology and engineering and math?" Rubio asked. "And yet that’s functionally the way our immigration system works right now."
 
The bill proposed by Rubio and others would allow undocumented foreigners to apply for citizenship after a 13-year wait.
 
But fellow Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama voted against even considering it.

“This bill is going to allow more workers to come into this country than we’ve ever allowed before, at a time when unemployment is extraordinarily high, our ability to reduce unemployment is down, wages are down, and our workers are falling below the inflation rate in their wages for years,” Sessions warned.
 
Republicans are expected to submit a slew of amendments, including one on border security that could kill the bill.
 
At the White House, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass the reform this summer.

“There is no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we’ve had in years to address this problem in a way that’s fair to middle class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants,” the president said.
 
Across from the Capitol, young immigrants who have lived much of their lives in limbo demonstrated in favor.

“It’s sad because I’ve been here since I was a year old, " undocumented immigrant Yves Gomes said, "the United States has been the only home I’ve ever known, and I love my community. All I want to do is get back to my country here.”

“All the people that are here in D.C. fighting, and all the undocumented people in the nation are Americans, but just without papers, and all we want to do is contribute to society," explained illegal immigrant Hareth Andrade.
 
The Senate majority leader and other proponents know they will need an overwhelming majority if the bill is to have a chance in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“As we move forward I want the amendment process to be as open as possible,” noted Reid.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid