World News

US Senators Unveil Plan for Immigration Reform

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has unveiled a plan for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally.

One of the eight senators, Charles Schumer, described it as a tough but fair plan for citizenship. At a Washington news conference Monday, the New York Democrat said President Barack Obama is pleased with the compromise.

Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, said lawmakers have an obligation to address the situation of the 11 million people in the country illegally while being fair to those seeking citizenship though legal channels.

The senators say the U.S. immigration system is "broken." They released their proposal ahead of President Obama's Tuesday speech urging action on immigration reform.

Under the plan, illegal immigrants would register with the government, pass a background check, pay fines and back taxes, and complete other steps to earn a probationary status that would allow them to legally live and work in the United States. They would then be placed at the back of the line for those seeking a so-called green card as a permanent legal resident.



The plan includes exceptions for those who entered the country as children, as well as for agricultural workers who the senators say play an important role in maintaining the nation's food supply.

The new plan also includes increased immigration enforcement.

There is also a provision to create an effective system for employers to verify that workers are legal. Another system would be set up to ensure those who enter the country on short-term visas leave when their approved time is up.

In addition to senators Schumer and Rubio, the others who worked on the proposal are Democrats Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, and Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Flake. They represent some of the states most affected by illegal migration, including Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and New York.

Their proposal says the 11 million undocumented immigrants came "almost exclusively for jobs."

The plan would allow employers to hire lower-skilled workers for positions that Americans are unavailable or unwilling to take. It would also give permanent resident status to those who earn a doctorate or master's degree in science, engineering or math from a U.S. university, in a bid to retain more "future innovators and entrepreneurs."

The senators also want to reduce backlogs in family and employment visas, saying those efforts would help future immigrants see a legal path as the only route to entering the United States.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs