Daily Video

February 15, 2013

Senate Hears Appeal for Immigration Reform

Watch Lawmakers Address 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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Teachers: this video contains an approx. 5:30 minute story followed by a discussion.

“Our immigration system is not just broken; it is hurting our country,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told the Senate’s Judiciary Committee at the first hearing on the new push for comprehensive immigration reform.

She pointed out that immigration reform must strive to provide fair employment to not only American workers, but also anyone who comes to work in the United States. “We know the main driver of illegal immigration across the Texas border, Arizona, California, whatever, is the ability to work. But we don’t have the tools to support the border with effective worker requirements and prosecution tools against employers.”

The hearing came two weeks after President Obama laid out his own goals for immigration reform, including strengthening border security, creating a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S., and expediting visas for highly skilled workers from abroad.

The Senate heard from a variety of witnesses, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas. “For all the undocumented immigrants who are actually sitting here at this hearing, for the people watching online and for the 11 million of us, what do you want to do with us?” he demanded of the chamber.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.), a member of a bipartisan group of senators presenting a new framework for immigration reform, emphasized that immigration reform policy should prioritize keeping jobs accessible to American citizens, “the goal (of immigration reform) is not to displace an American worker. You can only get a temporary worker when there’s no American available at a competitive wage.

Warm up questions

1. What is an undocumented immigrant?

2. What is a visa?

3. What is the DREAM Act?

Discussion questions

1. Do you agree with the president’s immigration proposals? Why or why not?

2. Do you think it is important to address immigration reform now? Why or why not?

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