News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Immigration Reform, Boston Bombing Aftermath

Washington Week: Focus on Immigration Reform, Boston Bombing Aftermathi
X
April 21, 2013 7:46 PM
This week, U.S. lawmakers will weigh in on a bipartisan proposal to overhaul America’s oft-criticized immigration system and resolve the status of an estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally or overstayed visas. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the bill’s unveiling late last week was overshadowed by fast-moving events surrounding the Boston bombing.
Washington Week: Focus on Immigration Reform, Boston Bombing Aftermath
Michael Bowman
This week, U.S. lawmakers will weigh in on a bipartisan proposal to overhaul America’s oft-criticized immigration system and resolve the status of an estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally or overstayed visas. The bill’s unveiling late last week was overshadowed by fast-moving events surrounding the Boston bombing.
 
With the eyes of the nation fixed on Boston, major legislative developments took a back seat last week. A push to reform America’s gun laws hit a roadblock in the Senate, and Democratic and Republican senators - the so-called Gang of Eight - presented a long-awaited immigration reform proposal. 
 
Republican Marco Rubio said, “First and foremost, it is about modernizing our legal immigration system. It is about helping to attract the world’s best and brightest talent, and to keep the world’s best and brightest talent.”
 
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, says the status quo is unacceptable. “The dysfunction of the system affects all of us. Now is our time to fix it," he said. 
 
The bill sets forth a long and arduous path for the undocumented to attain U.S. citizenship. That provision amounts to amnesty that will attract more illegal border-crossers, according to critics such as Republican Congressman Lou Barletta.
 
“We have our immigration laws for two reasons. One, to protect our national security. And two, to protect American jobs," he said. 
 
The national security component of the immigration debate could become a focal point in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. Both suspects came to the United States legally from abroad.  
 
While their motives have not been definitively ascertained, they are already being mentioned as a cautionary tale by skeptics of immigration reform, including Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
 
“How can individuals evade authority and plan such attacks on our soil,?" he asked. How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the United States? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?” 
 
Gang of Eight senators are predicting long and fierce debate on immigration reform. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer:
 
“There will be perils we cannot even anticipate, but we start off with optimism, because this bipartisan agreement gives us a sturdy ship to ride out the stormy seas ahead," he said. 
 
More about the Boston bombing could be learned if the surviving suspect recovers from wounds sustained in a gun battle with police and shares information with interrogators. Meanwhile, the debate on immigration reform is moving forward at the Capitol.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid