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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid