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Sen. John McCain: Now or never for immigration bill

Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, left, ambassador of the permanent representative mission of Syria to UN New York, shakes hands with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, during a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the UN Special Envoy at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. The talks are the first hosted by the U.N. in Geneva since last April and follow months of bloodshed, stalled aid deliveries and stop-and-start diplomacy _ with the United States now largely sidelined. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

The United States is in a now or never scenario when it comes to passing immigration reform, Sen. John McCain told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday.

“If it doesn’t [pass], it’ll be many years before it comes up again,” he said.

McCain said that, despite opponents of the bill requesting it be moved through other committees, he is optimistic it will be passed this summer.

“I think that it’s a good chance to see it passed by the Senate by June — and maybe earlier than that — but opponents of the bill say they don’t want to rush it and I agree with that.”

If McCain’s bill passes, immigration costs will be paid for by the applicants rather than taxpayers.

“This will be paid for by fees and not by taxpayers’ dollars.”

Immigrants who are allowed to apply for citizenship under McCain’s bill had to enter the United States prior to Dec. 31, 2011. By most estimates, about 11 million people would be eligible to apply and it would take about five years to process all the applications.

The bill would require the United States to have 90 percent effective control of the border until a green card status is granted. McCain said this control over immigration would secure America’s safety, more so than the status quo.

“Immigration reform does increase the security of our nation,” he said, adding that the faster reform is passed, the faster America becomes more secure.

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