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Washington Week: Focus on Immigration, Same-Sex Marriage

Washington Week: Focus on Immigration, Same-Sex Marriagei
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June 23, 2013 7:15 PM
The coming week could yield progress in the push to overhaul America’s immigration system. Landmark judicial rulings on same-sex marriage in the United States are also expected. From Washington, VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.

Washington Week: Focus on Immigration, Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Bowman
The coming week could yield progress in the push to overhaul America’s immigration system.  Landmark judicial rulings on same-sex marriage in the United States are also expected.

A proposal to dramatically boost U.S. border security could be the key to unlocking bipartisan support needed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate.  Democrat Charles Schumer said, “We are on the verge of a major breakthrough.”

The proposal would add 20,000 new border patrol agents, mandate the construction of more than 1,000 kilometers of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, and boost surveillance technology.  The amendment aims to win the support of Republicans who oppose legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants until America’s borders are secure.

Senator John Cornyn said, “We do not have control of our southwestern border.”

President Barack Obama wants to sign a bill into law in coming months. “Stronger enforcement.  A smarter legal immigration system.  A pathway to earned citizenship.  A more vibrant, growing economy that is fairer on the middle class.  And a more stable fiscal future for our kids," he said.

A final Senate vote could come in the next two weeks. But its passage in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives remains far from assured.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on same-sex marriage.  The court could rule whether states have the right to prohibit gays and lesbians from civil marriage.  Separately, the court is expected to decide whether the federal government must recognize such unions.

President Obama reaffirmed his backing for same-sex marriage rights last week in Germany. “When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well.  We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness," he said.

Wednesday, Obama departs on a weeklong trip to Africa.

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