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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid