On Monday, a bipartisan group of US Senators unveiled a comprehensive plan to reform the current United States immigration system.
The immigration blueprint calls for a path to citizenship for those who are currently residing illegally in the U.S., but with the caveat that the U.S. borders be strengthened. The plan would also make it easier for low-skill and agricultural workers to obtain legal work visas and would offer green cards to those who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in math, science, or technology. The plan also includes improvements in tracking expired visas.
The bipartisan group of Senators who created the plan, called the "Gang of Eight," includes Republicans John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Jeff Flake (AZ). Democrats who worked on the plan are Charles Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ), and Michael Bennet (CO).
Senator McCain told media host George Stephanopoulos, "We can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status." Senator Charles Schumer told reporters that while Democrats may compromise on border security, "there's a bottom line, and that's a path to citizenship for the 11 or so million people who qualify. We've made great, great progress with our Republican colleagues."
President Obama is scheduled to announce his goals for immigration reform at an event in Nevada on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the White House said in a statement, "As the president has made clear for some time, immigration reform is an important priority and he is pleased that progress is being made with bipartisan support... At the same time, he will not be satisfied until there is meaningful reform and he will continue to urge Congress to act until that is achieved."
Media Resources: CBS 1/28/2013; New York Times 1/28/2013; Reuters 1/28/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .