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

After Kenyatta Setback, ICC Struggles to Move Ahead

Collapse of the case against Kenya's president, other setbacks are fueling a debate about International Criminal Court's effectiveness and relevancy More

Video Conservationists Use Science to Preserve Rare Species of Rhino

With just five northern white rhinos left in the world, caretakers hope reproductive science may be able to preserve the gene pool More

Video Opening Trade With Cuba Bittersweet for Some

Long-time Cuban exiles in Miami say news is double-edged for those who had to leave everything behind More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014i
X
December 23, 2014 7:28 PM
The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.
Video

Video Russian Moves Provide New Mission for NATO

Russia’s more aggressive military posture in Europe during the past year has pushed NATO to take new steps to strengthen its defenses, providing it, analysts say, with a much-needed new mission. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle 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