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 Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid