News / USA

White House, Republicans Optimistic About Immigration

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), right, and John McCain (R-AZ), address media after White House immigration meetings, July 11, 2013.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), right, and John McCain (R-AZ), address media after White House immigration meetings, July 11, 2013.
Kent Klein
White House officials and both parties on Capitol Hill say they believe they eventually can reach an agreement on legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system, but that they will first need to overcome deep differences.
 
President Barack Obama met Thursday with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator John McCain to discuss ways to help move the House of Representatives toward an agreement on an immigration reform initiative like the one that recently cleared the Senate.
 
Their talks at the White House came one day after majority Republicans in the House discussed their strategy on the issue.
 
Schumer said he was encouraged that House Republicans agreed with Democrats that immigration reform must be addressed.
 
“Once you say doing nothing is not an option, you have to move in a direction to be bipartisan," he said. "And once you are bipartisan, you are going to get some progress that can get something done."
 
The top House Republican, Speaker John Boehner, Thursday said lawmakers understand the need to overhaul immigration policy.
 
However, he said the House wants to pass a series of smaller bills, rather than the comprehensive legislation that passed the Senate. And Republicans are insisting on tougher provisions for border security.
 
"A vast majority of our members do believe that we have to wrestle with this problem," said Boehner. "They also believe that we need to do this step-by-step, common sense approach. Thirdly, I would add, it is clear that securing our borders and having the ability to enforce our immigration laws are the first big step in this process."
 
Another major sticking point is what to do about the 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Democrats are insisting that any reform legislation include a path to citizenship, while Republicans have strongly opposed such a provision.

Boehner also said he is more concerned with “doing it right” than with meeting any deadline.
 
After his White House meeting, McCain told fellow Republicans in the House that he and other senators will work hard for a deal.
 
“We are ready to negotiate. We are ready to talk," he said. "We are ready to sit down with you and negotiate and bring this issue to a conclusion that we all agree has to be addressed."
 
Immigration reform is an important issue to many Hispanic Americans, who voted for President Obama by large majorities last year and in 2008. This puts additional pressure on Republicans, especially those, like Senator McCain of Arizona, who represent states with big Latino populations.
 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says immigration reform efforts have widespread support across the country.
 
"We remain hopeful and optimistic that the Congress will eventually act on this, and we believe they should act soon, because the consensus is there," he said. "Business supports it. Labor supports it. Faith leaders support it. Law enforcement supports it."
 
However, many House Republicans represent majority white districts where immigration is not popular, and they are under pressure from voters back home to reject reform.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More