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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs