News / USA

Washington Stirs Anew on Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama makes a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 30, 2014.
President Barack Obama makes a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 30, 2014.
Michael Bowman

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama reignited America's long-simmering debate on immigration reform, saying he would do what he can through executive orders. Proponents and opponents of a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants have responded, as Washington ponders the political and possible electoral ramifications of the president's announcement.

Monday, the president said his patience with Congress is at an end on immigration reform. “America cannot wait forever for them to act. And that is why today I am beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own,” he said.

The administration is exploring executive orders to address the plight of those who entered the country illegally or overstayed visas, and hopes to quell a crisis along America’s border with Mexico, where tens of thousands of minors have arrived, believing the United States will not deport those who are underage.

Obama’s announcement provoked a mixed reaction from advocates.

Advocates, opponents

Lynn Tramonte, deputy director at America’s Voice, a group that supports comprehensive immigration reform, said the president can make a difference.

“It marked a turning point in the debate. We saw the president speaking truth,” she said.

“He does not have authority to open up a path to citizenship for 11 million people here without papers. That is clear. That is Congress’ job," said Tramonte. "But he does have authority to create a program of deferred action and allow those same people to start the process toward legalization. They will not get a visa; they will not get a green card. But they will get temporary papers.”

Opponents of any adjusted status for the undocumented are appalled, including Marguerite Telford of the Center for Immigration Studies.

“It is astonishing, an incredible disregard for our constitution,” she said.

Telford said House Republicans have not acted on immigration reform for good reason, they view a bill that passed the Senate last year as amnesty for law-breakers, and do not believe promises of enhanced border enforcement will be kept.

“We do not trust the president of the United States. We can pass these things, and he will not enforce them,” she said.

Political factors

Republicans risk alienating the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, immigrants and their American-born offspring, according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein.

“I think President Obama’s announcement works well for Democrats," he said. "One of the dilemmas that Republicans will have is that, the more they criticize the president, the more in the eyes of the Hispanic-American population, the Asian-American population and others, they are going to look like they are staunchly against immigration and immigrants.”

Ornstein notes that, even before Obama’s announcement, House Speaker John Boehner was seeking legal avenues to limit the president’s use of executive authority. Ornstein said the president risks little politically by acting on his own, noting, “Congressional Republicans are going to be upset whatever he does.”

The administration's review of executive actions is expected to be completed in coming months.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid