Immigration issue heats up in Congress
By Kevin Tripp
The KTAR News (Phoenix), April 7, 2010
Phoenix — The battle on the U.S.-Mexico border has spread to the halls of Congress.
In the wake of a southern Arizona rancher's murder and continuing violence in the border drug war from California to Texas, politicians are debating what action is needed.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says President Barack Obama — who defeated McCain in the 2008 election — has failed to come up with a plan and that border violence has moved security ahead of immigration reform as the top priority.
'These are bad, cruel, incredibly murderous people,' McCain said of the quarreling drug cartels. 'They cut off people's heads and hang their bodies from the overpass. This is a struggle of monumental proportions and it threatens the very existence of the government of Mexico.'
McCain, who three years ago pressed for immigration reform, says, 'We must get our border secure first. That has to be done and it can be done. If you look at Israel, you see that they built a fence and they surveill it.'
Obama, McCain said, 'has yet to come forward with his proposal. Isn't that interesting? There has not been a proposal from the president of the United States. Why is that? Because the unions are in charge and they do not want a legal temporary worker program. And that has to be part of any addressing of the issue of immigration in this country.'
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who represents southeastern Arizona where rancher Robert Krentz was shot to death on March 27, said a border tour convinced her that more manpower and supplies are needed.
As for McCain's call for National Guard troops along the border, Kirkpatrick said, 'If it becomes apparent that the use of the National Guard will help prevent attacks like this, then I will work hard to move very quickly to make that possible… I haven't called for the National Guard, but I think every option is on the table.'
Comprehensive immigration reform is much needed in her rural district, Kirkpatrick said, adding that a temporary worker program is important.
'We've got a lot of farmers in the southern part of the state. Talking with them, they tell me they need to have these workers come in when their harvest is ready, so i think that has to be part of it.'