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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs