News / USA

    Washington Week: Focus on Syria, Immigration Reform

    Washington Week: Focus on Syria, Immigration Reformi
    X
    June 16, 2013 6:47 PM
    Washington’s attention will be split this week between the conflict in Syria and the legislative push to overhaul America’s immigration system. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Syria’s protracted civil war is expected to be a prime topic of discussion at this week’s G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.
    Washington Week: Focus on Syria, Immigration Reform
    Michael Bowman
    Washington’s attention will be split this week between the conflict in Syria and the legislative push to overhaul America’s immigration system. Syria’s protracted civil war is expected to be a prime topic of discussion at this week’s G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.

    President Barack Obama attends the G-8 forum days after the United States announced it will provide military aid to Syrian rebels.  Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, “We have steadily increased the size and scope of our assistance to the political opposition and the SMC (Supreme Military Council). And we have decided to take an additional step forward and provide dramatically-increased assistance to the SMC going forward."

    The decision follows setbacks for the rebels at the hands of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and U.S. assessments about chemical weapons.

    “We assess with high confidence that Sarin (nerve agent) has been used, and frankly the (Assad) regime retains custody of those weapons," said Rhodes.

    U.S. public opinion remains firmly opposed to direct military intervention in Syria, and even the most outspoken congressional advocates of expanded U.S. involvement say there should be no American troop deployments to Syria.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is moving forward on immigration reform.

    The chamber voted to begin debate on a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for most of the 11-million undocumented immigrants in the country, and streamline the process for legal immigration.

    Such changes are long overdue, according to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer. “Our country, amazingly and counterproductively, turns away hundreds of thousands of people who will create jobs and improve our economy.  And at the same time, we let cross the border millions who take jobs away from American workers," he said.

    Senate debate is expected to be long and contentious.  Some Republicans want guarantees of air-tight border security before any undocumented workers are legalized.  Even if the Senate passes a bill, its fate is far from certain in the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner has expressed reservations.

    “Especially in the area of border security, and internal enforcement of this system, I am concerned that it [the bill] does not go far enough," he said.

    President Obama says he wants to sign an immigration reform bill into law in coming months.

    The coming week could also see further developments concerning the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance program.  And the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue landmark rulings on same-sex marriage either this week or next.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora