News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on US Immigration Reform

Washington Week: Focus on US Immigration Reformi
X
March 31, 2013 10:09 PM
The U.S. Congress reconvenes this week amid signs of progress on a thorny issue: reforming America’s much-criticized immigration system. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Michael Bowman
— The U.S. Congress reconvenes this week amid signs of progress on a thorny issue: reforming America’s much-criticized immigration system. 
 
President Barack Obama says foreign-born workers have always contributed to America’s economic prowess.
 
“The promise we see in those who come from all over the world is one of our greatest strengths. It has kept our workforce young. It keeps our businesses on the cutting edge," he said. 
 
Now, U.S. business and union leaders are reporting a deal on a guest worker program for low-skilled laborers, potentially removing a key obstacle to an overhaul of federal immigration laws.
 
“The time has come for comprehensive, sensible immigration reform," said Obama. 
 
Lawmakers in both houses of Congress are crafting reform bills that are expected to provide an eventual path to citizenship for most of the estimated 11-million undocumented foreign nationals in the country. That would be paired with heightened efforts to secure U.S. borders and halt the flow of illegal immigrants.
 
Two champions of immigration reform - Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer - recently visited the U.S. border with Mexico.
 
“With the proper use of technology, we will be able to say we have a degree of border security that will enable people to move toward a path to citizenship," he said. 
 
But fellow-Republican Senator Marco Rubio is cautioning that reports of bipartisan consensus are premature. In a statement, Rubio said legislative deliberations on immigration reform “cannot be rushed.”
 
President Obama says he is optimistic. “My sense is that they [lawmakers] have come close, and my expectation is that we will actually see a bill on the floor of the Senate next month [in April]," he said. 
 
The White House is also pressing for gun reform. This week, the president travels to Denver, Colorado, where he will discuss proposals to curb gun violence in the United States. Obama says the nation must not forget last year’s mass-shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
 
“Less than 100 days ago that happened and the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we've forgotten," he said. 
 
Foreign affairs will also command Washington’s attention, including escalating tensions with North Korea. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. 
 
“All of the nations in that region are committed to a pathway to peace, and the North Koreans seem to be heading in a different direction," he said. 
 
Hagel added that the United States and its allies must be prepared for “any eventuality” concerning North Korea.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
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.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid