ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: Sen. John McCain has a complicated relationship with the tough new immigration enforcement law in Arizona.
He never endorsed the bill before it passed, only calling it “good a tool” for law enforcement in the days before it was signed by the Arizona government. More recently, he suggested the law might not pass constitutional muster .
His daughter Meghan has become a vocal opponent of the law, calling it “a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic.”
But in fiery remarks on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, McCain said justifiable anger and frustration led to the law and blamed inaction by the federal government for its passage.
“The people in southern Arizona have had their rights violated by the unending and constant flow of drug smugglers and human traffickers across their property,” said McCain. “Their homes are being broken into. Their rights are being violated. their rights, as American citizens, to live in a safe and secure environment, as most of the pundits who are criticizing this legislation enjoy. The fact is that our borders are broken, they are not secure. It is a federal responsibility to secure our borders. It is not being done,” he said, his voice raised.
Later McCain said the federal government bears some responsibility for not doing more earlier to secure the borders.
If you don't like the bill -- the legislation that the legislature passed and the governor signed in Arizona, then carry out the federal responsibilities, which are to secure the border. you probably wouldn't have had this problem,” he said.
McCain has a ten point plan, released with his colleague, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona. Their first recommendation is that President Obama dispatch the National Guard to Arizona’s border.
Both men have in past years supported comprehensive immigration reform efforts with Democrats. But both abandoned those efforts when Congress failed to pass a bill in 2007 and now say borders must be secured before any comprehensive bill that includes a way to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country can be considered.
McCain is locked in a tough primary battle against a more conservative Republican