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11/1/2013 11:05:00 AM
McCain urges House to act on immigration reform, says issue can't wait
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, told an immigration forum at Georgetown University that it is past time for the House to act on the issue. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, told an immigration forum at Georgetown University that it is past time for the House to act on the issue. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
By Pei Li
Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged the House Thursday to act on immigration reform, even if that means moving on its own piecemeal approach to the problem rather than the Senate's comprehensive reform bill.

McCain, an architect of that Senate bill, told a Georgetown University forum that the estimated 11 million people who are in this country illegally are here to stay, and that they will "self-deport ... when pigs fly."

"It's not going away, the issue is not going away, unless you believe somehow 11 million people are somehow going to ... self-deport," said McCain, who gave the keynote address at the 10th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown.

He called on the House to move forward on immigration reform, which has been stalled in that chamber since this summer.

"We respect your views, we respect your actions, but please act, please act," McCain said.

The Senate in June passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill on a bipartisan 68-32 vote. McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., were two of the so-called "gang of eight" senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - who crafted that bill.

The bill, just under 1,200 pages long, calls for a revamped visa system and a potential pathway to citizenship for those immigrants who are in this country illegally. It also greatly increases resources for border security, and makes the other benefits in the bill dependent on a secure border.

But the issue has stalled in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has said he will pursue a "step-by-step process" to fix the "broken immigration system."

Rather than one large bill, House Republicans have introduced several smaller measures that address separate pieces of the larger issue.

In an email Thursday, Boehner's office stood by that piecemeal approach. An aide would not predict when the House bills might come up for a vote.

McCain said Thursday that he would not reject the piecemeal approach, he just hopes the House will do something.

"If that's all they can do, and that's what they think the best way to do it, I think I would be glad to look at that as well," McCain said.

But he emphasized that any measure must ultimately include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumentd immigrants in this country. Without an opportunity for citizenship, even people here legally could become alienated, he said.

"If you don't give people a chance to be full and contributing members of a society, it does not work," McCain said.

He called on fellow Republicans to face "reality."

"If Republicans were part of the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, we would be on a level playing field to be able to compete for Hispanic voters," he said.

He said he is ready to fight Democrats for Hispanic voters, but "we can't compete unless we get the issue done." And he is still confident something can be done in this Congress.

"I will remain optimistic," he said. "I have to."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Hispanic Pawns?

It's unfortunate that the Hispanic community has been used and allowed themselves to be used as "Political Pawns" for tooooooo many years by both political parties.

This is why I love all of my politicians equally .... If you know what I mean.

Gary Chamberlain
Cornville AZ
Vietnam veteran

Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Article comment by: Dave Francis

The majority of American taxpayers have no idea where their money goes, once it is forcibly taken every April by the IRS. Now we learn that the Democratic ancient Senator Harry Reid not only defends an agenda to give free money to illegal alien parents, who are collecting a $1000.00 dollars a year for each child in tax credits. This jerk of a leading lawmaker is giving taxpayers money away, but also allow illegal alien parents claim millions of dollars for children that live outside the jurisdiction of the United States, whether they exist or not?
U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX, wrote legislation to end the practice of giving illegal aliens tax credits for kids, but U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV)., won’t let the House-approved measure H.R. 556 through the Senate.

Senator Harry Reid said, “The System is Working Fine", yet though the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that passing H.R. 556 would save taxpayers $24.4 billion over the next 10 years.
The House has repeatedly passed an IRS bill that could save U.S. taxpayers up to $24.4 billion over the next decade— but Reid’s inner sanctum of Democratic Senators will not give it a reading to vote on.

The Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act, or H.R. 556, would require tax applicants to provide a Social Security numbers to claim child tax credits.

Currently, the IRS allows illegal aliens to collect the $1,000 credits for dependents not even living in the country? group reported that illegal aliens received $4.2 billion from the tax agency in just one year.

Sam Johnson, R-Texas, stated, “My bill (targets) billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Instead of hitting up taxpayers for even more taxes, Washington needs to go after these billions of dollars”.

“The IRS has been doling out the credit to tax filers claiming children who do not even live in the country,” Johnson charged.

Tax preparers say the IRS has to stop disbursing ACTC refunds based on Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, which are available to foreigners with no legal status.
Tax preparers told Watchdog they have observed clients from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua claiming Mexican children as dependents.

A 2009 TIGTA audit concluded that the child tax credit “appears to provide an additional incentive for illegal aliens to enter, reside, and work in the U.S. without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.”

Johnson’s bill would enforce a 10-year ban on tax filers who commit fraud and a $500 penalty on tax preparers who knowingly deceive taxpayers through the ACTC program.

“I just think the child tax credit is working just fine, and there’s no need to punish children,” the Democratic leader told the Associated Press in February.

There is an uncomplicated, easy way to sever the job market from the thousands of illegal aliens arriving here daily. We demand for—ALL THE PEOPLE—ALL THE CITIZENS—(Lawful Residence have a green card) a bio-metric Social Security ID card, that will cut the illegal foreign workers arriving here to a dribble stopping voting fraud by non-citizens and halt criminals stealing credit, welfare and other citizen benefits. This programmed card that you would slide through a machine, just the same way you slide a credit card through would deny illegal alien parents from appropriating billions of dollars annually in child credits.

These extra dollars would go a long way in caring for our incapacitated, homeless and the veterans that are being denied services. This is a digital document that cannot be counterfeited, even if stolen nefarious reasons? Your picture, your thumb-print and even an iris scan would distinguish you from anybody else. The demented morons in Congress of both political parties (not the TEA PARTY) are willing to keep spending trillions of dollars, but shy away from this federal issued ID card for a meager $2 Billion that the legislators say would cover every U.S. citizen. A card more powerful than E-Verify or means of enforcement internally or at the borders a national ID card that Americans need urgently. I only hope some Patriotic American begins a petition, to command the “Do nothings” in Washington to get a biometric ID law on the books.

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