PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday he would not support the proposed $3.7 billion President Barack Obama wants to use to clear up the humanitarian crisis along the border between Mexico and the United States.
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America have been crossing the U.S. border, leaving the Department of Homeland Security overwhelmed and a political gridlock in Washington D.C. on what to do with the immigrants.
Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to deal with the issue, to which McCain said he and his fellow Republicans will not support the legislation.
“Neither I, nor the majority of my Republican colleagues will support expenditure of billions of dollars, which will only perpetuate the problem, until we have addressed the source of the problem,” he said at his Phoenix office.
McCain said the minors need to be sent home to Central America and only that will send the message needed to deter more immigrants from attempting to cross the border illegally.
“We have to move quickly to repatriate these children,” he said. “The only way that this is going to stop is if plane loads of children arrive back in the countries where they came from and their parents see the 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, (or) $7,000 that they have paid to the human traffickers is wasted.”
In order to promptly remove the minors from the United States, McCain said he wants to see more judges assigned to deportation hearings and an amendment to a Bush-era law to speed up the process.
That 2008 law allows for faster deportation of children who came into the U.S. illegally, but only if they came from Mexico or Canada. McCain said he wants to amend the law so all children can be processed in the same manner, effectively speeding up the process.
“It would cost us very little to fly them back, as compared with the cost of taking care of them while they were here,” he said.
McCain also said he wanted to see an increase in embassy personnel in the countries where the minors have been coming from to provide assistance without people attempting crossing the border.
“We can increase our consulate personnel and our embassy personnel and we must tell everyone who is seeking this asylum that they can’t get it at our border,” he said. “But if they want to go to one of our embassies or one of our consulates then they can hear their case plead and a decision can be made.”
McCain added he supports sending the National Guard to the border and issuing several thousand visas for some of the immigrants to stay in the country.