McCain talks immigration - Tucson News Now

McCain talks immigration

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Sen. John McCain talked to about 200 of his constituents in Green Valley. Sen. John McCain talked to about 200 of his constituents in Green Valley.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Senator John McCain made a trip to Southern Arizona this week to talk immigration, meet with Border Patrol agents and show a couple of his fellow lawmakers around the border.

He talked to about 200 of his constituents in Green Valley after meeting with the agents.

He told the friendly crowd he learned some things he will investigate, especially about how the agency is spending its money.

He said duplication, lack of equipment and uniforms and waste will get his attention.

But he was in Green Valley to press a series of subjects including sequestration, health care costs, gun background checks and national defense.

During a question and answer session the audience added the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, the budget deficit, social security and treatment of people who are detained for being in the country illegally.

On gun control, he talked about the Tucson tragedy on Jan. 8, 2011.

"Tucson shooter Jared Loughner passed a background check in November, 2010," McCain said. "Even though he suffered from extreme mental illness, was deemed unqualified for the military service in the US Army and was expelled from Pima Community College."

He told the audience he and others are working on gun measures in Washington.

"The system failed," he said. "For Jared Loughner, the system failed."

On immigration reform, the Senator told the crowd "we need to address the issue of the 11 million people who are here illegally.

McCain says the people should pay a fine, have background checks, must learn English and must pay for any expenses associated with that.

But he said most importantly "they must get in the back of the line behind anybody who has come to this country legally."

He said "that means it could take years and I freely admit that."

He also told the crowd "border security must be the highest priority in my view. I believe we can achieve border security."

His call is for more militarization along the border.

"We need probably more border agents and we need for fencing," he says. "But we also need to use the technology that we developed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The use of drones, the use of sensors."

On the subject of Social Security he told the crowd no one sitting there today would ever have to worry about getting their benefits but he said it needed to be reformed to meet the needs of future generations.

He pointed out technology is changing rapidly and its difficult to determine sometimes whether the changes may infringe on a person's privacy.

"We don't catch everyone of the border. Some we catch at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport getting on a plane to Detroit," he says. "So I don't know if its a violation of your rights to have a checkpoint 20 miles from the border."

He said he has not received the answers he asked for in the Benghazi attack, the national debt must be addressed and health care costs stabilized.

Technology has driven down costs in most fields but not medicine he said.

When asked about whether he will retire he said he has no plans to do so.

"If you retire," he told me, "I'll consider it."

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