McCain Gang of Eight

Several U.S. senators, including John McCain, are traveling to Arizona’s Mexican border this week in an effort to see firsthand the people whom the upcoming immigration reform package may directly affect.

This group of senators includes Colorado’s Michael Bennet, New York’s Chuck Schumer, and Arizona’s Jeff Flake. The three men are members of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of Senators who have recently been involved in constructing immigration legislation.

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“I wish every member of the United States Senate and Congress could see the border,” said McCain on Monday, regarding to his trip to Arizona. “Only when you can see the expanse, the difficulties and the challenges of the border, can you really appreciate the need for our border security.”

This trip, which will take place during a recess in Congress, is part of President Barack Obama’s urge to pass immigration reform this year. This involves tightening the security of the Mexican border, as well as placing 11 million undocumented immigrants on a road to U.S. citizenship. In agreement with other Republicans, McCain believes that large swaths of the border are not as secure as they should be.

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The bill proposes a more comprehensive reform to immigration reform than the U.S. has faced in years, and both Democrats and Republicans are intensely focused on the issue. The proposed legislation would introduce a new standard of border security and create a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Despite the fact that the threshold for low-skilled workers is likely to widen, the criteria businesses would have to follow in verifying workers’ citizenship would be stricter.

McCain aims to respond to his constituents’ concerns at a town hall meeting in Phoenix this Monday. He told reporters that the group is still trying to get past significant disagreements, and that immigration activists will likely not be completely satisfied with the measure.

“We’ve made progress in a number of areas that I am encouraged by, but there are still areas that we are not in agreement,” said McCain.

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Though this proposed legislation formalized in March, it willbe at least April before it is officially completed. There isdebate over the swiftness of this process; many Republicans believe the process to be moving too fast, while most immigration proponents claim that the legislation needs to be introduced sooner rather than later.

Source: Huffingtonpost, “John McCain, Other Senators To Tour Mexico Border” Cristina Silava, Associated Press,
March 27th, 2013