Senator McCain upbeat on immigration reform outlook

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:38pm EST

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) speaks while Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) listens during a news conference on comprehensive immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) speaks while Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) listens during a news conference on comprehensive immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator John McCain on Tuesday predicted that efforts to craft a wide-ranging, bipartisan immigration reform bill would come together promptly in the Senate, which could eliminate the need for President Barack Obama to propose his own measure.

The Arizona Republican lawmaker, who is one of the negotiators on a bipartisan measure, emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama upbeat about prospects in Congress.

"We are committed to trying to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible and I think we will ... in a reasonable time frame," McCain told reporters after returning to Capitol Hill.

Obama has warned that if immigration reform efforts faltered in Congress, he would put forth a legislative proposal.

A group of eight Senate Democrats and Republicans, including McCain, floated the outlines of a broad immigration bill recently. The measure aims to set firm targets for determining whether the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico is secure enough to begin putting some of the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States on a path to citizenship.

The group hopes to finish writing the details of a bill next month so the full Senate can debate such a measure by June or July.

McCain, asked whether he was confident that Obama would support efforts in Congress, responded: "I believe that the president is very committed to comprehensive immigration reform," even though his support might not extend to every element senators are drafting.

McCain's relationship with Obama has sometimes been strained, especially following the senator's unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid against Obama.

On immigration reform, there has been tension between Obama and Republicans in Congress over border security issues, with the Democratic president sometimes hinting that enough progress has been made that it is now time to move forward on the controversial pathway to citizenship for certain illegal residents.

McCain raised the issue with Obama on Tuesday and said he was "more confident" that the president understands the border problems in Arizona.

Some border areas of Arizona are still seen as a porous route for illegal entries into the United States. Members of Congress from that area want to see tougher controls included in the reform legislation before moving ahead with it.

Another Republican senator working with McCain, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, also attended the White House meeting. He told reporters, "I think the president is very sincere, wanting a bill and wants to know what he can do to help."

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (8)
0okm9ijn wrote:
To criminalize immigration, under any form, is to call Abraham, the father of monotheism a criminal when he moved from Chaldean of Ur to Canaan. Restrictions and border control are useful part of sovereignty, but violating this control mechanism should not rise to criminality, it should be what it is, immigration violation.

Feb 26, 2013 7:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
actnow wrote:
A recent Ipsos Reuters poll only verifies what other polls have stated repeatedly. The clear majority of Americans do not want a mass amnesty for those here illegally….period (even under the disguise of “earned citizenship”). Calls and e-mails to the offices of congressmen and senators on this issue are having an effect. Keep up the good work America….we can’t allow our democracy to be hi-jacked by a very vocal, self serving group of open boarder zealots who care nothing for the rule of law and the legitimate concerns of it’s true citizens.

Feb 26, 2013 9:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kghjfjfdgjfd wrote:
Only welfare recipients and unemployed are opposing the immigration reform because they are insecure and angry. Immigration reform is a MUST for the countries continuos growth. Immigrants who need this reform call White House and Congress everyday and tell their stories. Fortunately, the people in power know that America needs the immigration reform now and it is coming this year no matter what the opposition says or does. Amnesty in 2013!

Feb 27, 2013 12:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
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