News / USA

US Senators Unveil Immigration Reform Plan

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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs