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11/3/2013 6:59:00 AM
McCain urges House to act on immigration reform, says issue can't wait
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, told an immigration forum at Georgetown University that it is past time for the House to act on the issue. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, told an immigration forum at Georgetown University that it is past time for the House to act on the issue. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged the House Thursday to act on immigration reform, even if that means moving on its own piecemeal approach to the problem rather than the Senate's comprehensive reform bill.

McCain, an architect of that Senate bill, told a Georgetown University forum that the estimated 11 million people who are in this country illegally are here to stay, and that they will "self-deport ... when pigs fly."

"It's not going away, the issue is not going away, unless you believe somehow 11 million people are somehow going to ... self-deport," said McCain, who gave the keynote address at the 10th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown.

He called on the House to move forward on immigration reform, which has been stalled in that chamber since this summer.

"We respect your views, we respect your actions, but please act, please act," McCain said.

The Senate in June passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill on a bipartisan 68-32 vote. McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., were two of the so-called "gang of eight" senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - who crafted that bill.

The bill, just under 1,200 pages long, calls for a revamped visa system and a potential pathway to citizenship for those immigrants who are in this country illegally. It also greatly increases resources for border security, and makes the other benefits in the bill dependent on a secure border.

But the issue has stalled in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has said he will pursue a "step-by-step process" to fix the "broken immigration system."

Rather than one large bill, House Republicans have introduced several smaller measures that address separate pieces of the larger issue.

In an email Thursday, Boehner's office stood by that piecemeal approach. An aide would not predict when the House bills might come up for a vote.

McCain said Thursday that he would not reject the piecemeal approach, he just hopes the House will do something.

"If that's all they can do, and that's what they think the best way to do it, I think I would be glad to look at that as well," McCain said.

But he emphasized that any measure must ultimately include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumentd immigrants in this country. Without an opportunity for citizenship, even people here legally could become alienated, he said.

"If you don't give people a chance to be full and contributing members of a society, it does not work," McCain said.

He called on fellow Republicans to face "reality."

"If Republicans were part of the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, we would be on a level playing field to be able to compete for Hispanic voters," he said.

He said he is ready to fight Democrats for Hispanic voters, but "we can't compete unless we get the issue done." And he is still confident something can be done in this Congress.

"I will remain optimistic," he said. "I have to."

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

And the Tea Party slips into the coma that will eventually kill it!

The Republicans who refuse to see the writing on the wall will fall to the wayside in subsequent elections. Good riddance!

The only way to stop this fascist threat to democracy and our bill of rights is to rid ourselves of the T-Party lunatics bent on the destruction of our way of life and our constitution.

The 11% are dwindling for a reason!

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Confused

All the illegal immigrants from Central and South America have cell phones. If they make it to the States and find work, they call home and tell their family, "There is work."

If ther is no work, they call home and tell their family. "There is no work."

If employers do not hire undocumented workers, most will return home. Enforcing laws against hiring undocumented workers is the quickest way to solve the illegal immigration challenge.

Of course, business owners who underpay and overwork are all too happy to hire undocumented workers.

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013
Article comment by: Try again

"When pigs fly"... ... is also when your group of Congressional cowards will finally try to do something about immigration.

Or, the economy.

Or, jobs.

Or, sadly, almost anything.


Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: Joey Evans

Let me start by saying that I have been a supporter of John McCain since long before I moved to Arizona 12 years ago. Contrary to McCain’s opinion, America does not need immigration reform, we need immigration enforcement that has been sorely lacking for decades. McCain has generally been a conservative moderate, but since he lost his presidential bid, he seems to be more liberal than moderate. The last couple of years, he has not only become even more liberal, he has become an obama lapdog promoting many of obama’s socialist policies right alongside harry reid. In short, he has shown frequent contempt for what American CITIZENs want and has become a “has-been” who needs to be replaced.

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by:

... is also when your group of Congressional cowards will finally try to do something about immigration.

Or, the economy.

Or, jobs.

Or, sadly, almost anything.


Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: Dave Francis

Looking at the polls, especially Rasmussen polls it’s likely that many of the politicians who run this country will be searching for a job elsewhere, seeing they went against the majority of Americans in pressing for an Immigration Reform package, sanctioned by the Senate. Do not need any fortune teller’s crystal ball, to see which way this controversial issue is blowing? Many involved will be terminated from Congress, unless the Democrats can use the illegal vote of non-citizens as they did in the presidential election. Illustrating this is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina disturbing drop in popularity.

Sen. Grahams reputation plummets after year-long press for amnesty
In a new poll from Winthrop University finds that Republican Sen. Grahams esteem is decaying in his home state plummeting after co-authoring legislation that would grant amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens and double annual legal immigration flows. According to the poll, only 45% of GOP voters of those who have supported the job that Graham have been doing.

Last February, after the Gang of Eight had announced their principles for immigration reform, but before the bill was drafted, Graham approval rating among GOP voters was 72%. His approval rating was 57.5% in April just before the Senate began debate on Grahams amnesty bill, S.744.

You have to wonder whose next to “bite the bullet” I see new faces arising especially in the ranks of the GOP. I don’t think anybody is safe, except for the growing numbers of TEA PARTY upper echelon of Legislators, who are rearing up against the gangsters in both parties who are adjoining on the counterfeit Immigration Reform proposal With the numbers of illegal aliens involved is subsequently cannot claim its not an AMNESTY in the populace mind. No population numbers are truly available from this ailing government, as it’s unknown how many foreigners eluded the Census counter. But it must be over 25 million or more according to grassroots organizations. The whole thing stinks of conspiracy, when millions of American jobless will be targeted by scrupulous weasels in the Special Interests, so they can legally obtain another 30 million under the new Senate bill. This AMNESTY is a market for cheap labor, while for the Lib-Democrats blocks of votes.

According to what I have read that under the Obama administration exclusive non-deportation policy, that 99.5 percent of illegal aliens have been granted permission to stay,


There is an assured, easy way to disunite the job market from the thousands of illegal aliens arriving here daily. The TEA PARTY who believes in American Sovereignty and the “Rule of Law” demand for—ALL THE PEOPLE—ALL THE CITIZENS—(Lawful Residence have a green ID card) a bio-metric Social Security ID card, that will cut the illegal foreign workers incoming to a seeping ooze stopping election fraud by non-citizens and halt criminals stealing credit, welfare and other citizen entitlements. Its obvious to me that Obama’s thrall have exceeded the requirements of the law, by lifting restrictions on the criminal undocumented, allowing them to apply for Food Stamps.

A programmed digitized SS card would allow the holder to slide a your card through a machine, just the same way you slide a credit card through, also denying illegal alien parents from appropriating billions of dollars annually in child credits. It really is time to re-evaluate the Citizenship Law, which an illegal alien parent can claim for an unborn child, once inside the jurisdiction of the United States. This has been reassessed in the majority of industrialized nations, including Canada:

After February 15, 1977: It states that Canadian citizenship is not granted to a child born in Canada if, at the time of his/her birth, neither of his/her parents was a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident and either parent.

Crazy U.S. citizenship laws, which were for the descendants of slaves, have been fabricated include non-citizens a law financially abused. It has been a troubling issue for years that has still to be resolved by the high court. This should certainly be determined in any immigration reform, mainly because a child of illegal alien parents and foreign visitors who “OVERSTAY” their expired visa or just cross borders, supplementing income with major cash payments and public assistance.

These extra dollars would go a long way in caring for our incapacitated, homeless and the veterans that are being denied services. This citizen digital document could not be counterfeited, even if stolen nefarious reasons? Your picture, your thumb-print and even an iris scan would distinguish you from everybody else.

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