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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid