News / USA

US Senators Scramble to Firm Up Immigration Bill by April

U.S. Senator John McCain, left, and Senator Charles Schumer tour the Nogales port of entry during their tour of the Mexico border with the United States, March 27, 2013, in Nogales, Arizona.U.S. Senator John McCain, left, and Senator Charles Schumer tour the Nogales port of entry during their tour of the Mexico border with the United States, March 27, 2013, in Nogales, Arizona.
x
U.S. Senator John McCain, left, and Senator Charles Schumer tour the Nogales port of entry during their tour of the Mexico border with the United States, March 27, 2013, in Nogales, Arizona.
U.S. Senator John McCain, left, and Senator Charles Schumer tour the Nogales port of entry during their tour of the Mexico border with the United States, March 27, 2013, in Nogales, Arizona.
— The U.S. Congress is not in session this week, but a group of senators working on immigration reform are scrambling to finish a bill to introduce to Congress when it resumes in 11 days.

Four of the eight senators visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, balancing a highly publicized helicopter flyover with private phone negotiations with other stakeholders.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, on his first-ever trip to the border, expressed hope the group would have a bill ready for Congress when it reconvenes April 8.

“The bottom line is we're very close," Schumer said at a press conference in Nogales, Arizona Wednesday. "I'd say we're 90 percent there. We have a few little problems to work on. We've been on the phone with our four colleagues all day."

The fence that divides Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico is five meters high, more than twice the height of an average woman. Yet a woman scaled the metal fence while the senators were touring the area.

Republican Senator John McCain tweeted about the incident:
Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Victor Brabble said the 24-year-old Mexican woman has been repatriated.

McCain and his colleagues face the daunting task of writing legislation that not only keeps the borders secure and makes citizenship available to some of the 11 million foreigners living unlawfully in the United States, but also balances U.S. labor union and business demands and is acceptable to a divided electorate.

The immigration reform movement has been years in the making, but after Latino and Asian-American voters showed their influence in the 2012 elections, more conservative and liberal politicians than ever before have embraced taking action, although many remain divided over how to proceed.

Republican Eric Cantor, the number two lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives, told Fox News Thursday that passing comprehensive immigration reform will be difficult, but suggested some small steps could be taken.

“We’ve got an opportunity to come together on one point, and that is the kids,” he told the U.S. news outlet. “If a kid was brought here by his parents or her parents, unbeknownst to them, and knows no other place … than America as home, why wouldn’t we want to give them a path to citizenship, and I think we should.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has raised the issue of immigration reform several times this week, first at a citizenship ceremony at the White House on Monday, and then in two interviews with Spanish-language television networks on Wednesday.

Obama, who plans to visit Mexico in May, told Telemundo he has his own immigration bill ready if the senators don’t achieve their goal, but he said he doesn’t think that will be necessary.

"If we have a bill introduced at the beginning of next month as these senators indicate it will be, then I'm confident that we can get it done, certainly before the end of the summer," he said.

The timing is particularly important, since politicians want to firm up immigration reform before the next election season begins.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid