News / USA

US Senators Unveil Immigration Reform Plan

Senators Propose Sweeping Immigration Reformi
X
January 29, 2013 2:57 AM
A group of eight Democratic and Republican senators has outlined a plan for sweeping reform of the U.S. immigration system, including a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his own immigration proposal on Tuesday. As VOA’s Cindy Saine reports, civil rights and immigrant groups are welcoming what they see as momentum for change.

Senators Propose Sweeping Immigration Reform

A group of eight Democratic and Republican senators unveiled key elements Monday of a proposed compromise to reform the U.S. immigration system.  President Barack Obama will use an event in Nevada on Tuesday to lay out his vision on the issue. 
 
What the Senate lawmakers called “tough but fair” proposals would accomplish key objectives Obama and previous presidents have long supported, including a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
 
The plan specifically links eventual citizenship with future steps to enhance border security. Immigrants seeking a "green card" - the document needed to work legally - would have to satisfy all requirements, such as payment of taxes and any outstanding fines, and demonstrate their English-language ability. 
 
Also included are steps Obama has advocated to boost the U.S. economy, by ending a talent drain in which the children of illegal immigrants who acquired an education and skills - and their parents - are forced to leave the United States. 
 
Press Secretary Jay Carney welcomed the framework, but he declined to discuss legislative timetables or even say if Obama will propose a bill himself.  Carney said conditions appear right for progress.
 
“He believes that we are at a moment now where there seems to be support coalescing at a bipartisan level behind the very principles that he has long put forward," he said. 
 
Carney said Obama's remarks Tuesday in Nevada, a state he won in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections with strong Hispanic and labor union support, will engage Americans in a conversation about the challenge ahead.
 
Democratic and Republican congressional aides said the Senate plan was deliberately released now to provide political separation from Mr. Obama and demonstrate that Congress is determined to act.
 
Obama spoke about immigration reform in his second inaugural address.
 
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country," he said. 
 
Congressional proposals include further strengthening of border security, steps to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants and bolstering measures to prevent identity theft.
 
The Senate plan would give green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees at U.S. universities.  Agricultural workers would be treated differently from other undocumented immigrants.  Employers would be allowed to to hire immigrants if citizens cannot be found.
 
Calling their framework a first step, senators said a tough fight lies ahead, but that they are confident immigration reform can be achieved despite the sort of opposition that has derailed previous efforts. 
 
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said,  “We believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done.  The politics on this issue have been turned upside down.  For the first time ever, there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than supporting it.”
 
At the same press conference, Republican Senator John McCain said, “Now we will again attempt to commit the remaining resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current immigration system, and create a tough but fair path to citizenship for those here illegally.”
 
Though the bipartisan Senate group includes influential Republicans such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 Republican presidential contender, organizations that opposed past reform efforts are not persuaded.
 
Rosemary Jenks represents NumbersUSA, a group that says the Senate plan is a rehash of past proposals that would offer amnesty for illegal immigrants.
 
“The problem with amnesty is that if you send the message to the world that, if you can come to the United States illegally and manage to break the law for long enough, we will reward you with amnesty," she said. "So the message is, 'Come on in.'”
 
The chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith, also calls the new proposals an amnesty.
 
Despite the display of Senate bipartisanship, John Sides of George Washington University says it is likely to take time for immigration legislation to move forward on Capitol Hill.
 
“A timeline that ends in March strikes me as pretty ambitious. I don't think that is because there is not a will to make this happen in Congress. I just think it is a question of the natural slowness [of the legislative process] and the need for different constituencies to buy in," he said.  
 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, whose members met with Obama last week, called the Senate plan a positive step and expressed hope that Republicans who control the House of Representatives will see it as workable.
 
The American Civil Liberties Union said the Senate plan could help protect illegal immigrants from exploitation by employers and discourage racial profiling. But the liberal group is concerned about a requirement for an electronic verification system, which it sees as “a thinly disguised national ID requirement” that undermines privacy and imposes new burdens on businesses. 

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dwight from: dc
January 29, 2013 8:18 AM
Shame on the writer Dan Robinson for referring to illegal aliens as "immigrants". That's offensive and disparaging to include my parents who came here legally, with a group of criminals who have no respect for our laws. It's also clear how he gives amnesty aka "immigration reform" a positive slant in this article by refusing to mention criticism. VOA is not respectable, like most biased left-wing media.


by: phuong from: goergia
January 29, 2013 12:27 AM
Please stop trying to invite illegal immigrants to this country. Stop trying to give green cards for the so-called immigrants who obtain advanced degrees at U.S. universities. They just come here to take our jobs. Stop trying to take american jobs to give to other in the name of reform.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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 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.

AppleAndroid