FACT CHECK: John McCain’s Amnesty Defense

As the Senate continues debate on the Senate’s amnesty bill, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of the Gang of Eight, loudly asserted that this amnesty bill is “absolutely needed.”  Let’s examine some of his claims.

McCain #1: “The status quo is 11 million people living in the shadows, and they aren’t going home!  And anybody that thinks that we’re going to round up 11 million people and send them back to the country that they came from, most of them from south of our border,  obviously are unaware of the logistics that would be required there.”

RESPONSE:  Granting 11 million illegal immigrants amnesty does not solve the problems of our flawed immigration system.  As the Heritage Foundation, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and many others have noted, Congress should be taking a step-by-step approach.  Those initial steps include securing the border and fixing the legal immigration system so immigrants who will help our economy and prosper are able to come to the United States.  But this cannot be properly accomplished in a comprehensive amnesty bill.  We tried that in 1986.  It failed. 

McCain #2:  “So if the status quo is unacceptable, don’t we all share the same goal to secure our border, of addressing the issue of these 11 million people who are in this country illegally living in the shadows, and by the way being exploited in incredible fashions because they don’t have the rights of citizens.  And they did break our laws by coming here, and we are making them pay a heavy price for doing so – including a fine, including learning English, including paying back taxes, including waiting ten years before they would be eligible for a green card, and most importantly to many Americans, they get in line behind everybody who waited, who waited legally, either inside this country or outside of it, they have to get in line behind them.”

RESPONSE:  Yes, they did break our laws by coming here.  Granting them amnesty will encourage – beyond a shadow of a doubt – future illegal immigration.  Amnesty sends a loud and clear message that if you come here illegally, eventually you will be granted amnesty and be able apply for citizenship.  Moreover, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants – allowing them to live, work and travel abroad legally – gives them privileges not available to the legal immigrants who have waited patiently abroad to enter or remain lawfully in the United States.

McCain #3: “And they have to be working for those then years.”

RESPONSE:  What if they’re not working the whole time?  Will they be deported then, or just slide back into what McCain calls de facto amnesty?  Have any of the proponents of this bill really thought through the implications?  Will they be able to find jobs when our country is still experiencing such high unemployment levels?  If not, will the Secretary waive the requirement?

McCain #4: “Anyone who has committed crimes in this country is going to be deported.”

RESPONSE:  That’s simply not true.  Illegal immigrants who have been previously deported and returned for a second time are guilty of a criminal offense.  Those individuals would be allowed to remain in the U.S. with amnesty.  According to Politico, “Immigrants barred from gaining the provisional legal status because of a criminal record from long-ago offenses can seek a waiver.”  We have also explained, “This broad grant of amnesty would include individuals who were previously deported and criminals with up to two misdemeanors (not including the illegal entry).”  Oh, and they can appeal multiple times if they are denied immediate legal status.

McCain #5: “And most importantly, this legislation dries up the magnet that pulls people into this country where they believe they can find work.”

RESPONSE:  First, thanks to Obamacare, employers will have an incentive to hire illegal immigrants who were granted amnesty.  Illegal immigrants will be ineligible for Obamacare for the first 13 years after they are granted amnesty, because that’s how long they would have to wait to apply for full citizenship.  Thus, by employing them instead of Americans, employers can avoid the hefty fees required by the Obamacare employer mandate.  Second, illegal immigrants seeking work will be even more emboldened by this wave of amnesty to break the law and enter the country illegally.

Please Share Your Thoughts

3 thoughts on “FACT CHECK: John McCain’s Amnesty Defense

  1. Current Status along the 1,951 mile Southwest border ….

    351 miles of varying types of pedestrian fence; exception 36.3 miles of double, and triple-layered fence at key points (i.e. San Luis, AZ, and Smugglers Gulch, CA).
    300 miles of vehicle barriers

    129 miles of border under full control
    873 miles under operational control

    18,516 Border Patrol agents

    Everything I have heard, or read, over the past five years indicates that the Southwest Border Patrol agents’ consensus, is that they now apprehend an estimated 1, out of every 3, illegal immigrant border crossers.

    Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector Monthly Apprehensions
    as of April 2, 2013, Rio Grande Valley arrests were up 53% to 59,147
    RGV apprehensions through May, are over 90,000
    FY2013 projected 149,576 +53%
    FY2012……97,762 +65%
    FY2011……59,243

    Border Patrol Nationwide Monthly Apprehensions (Source: DHS/CPB)
    FY2013 projected –415,678 +14.0%
    FY2012–364,768 +7.2%
    FY2011–340,252

    Bryan Roberts, who used to evaluate border and immigration programs for the Department of Homeland Security, “To catch 90 percent of all illegal crossers — which is what the Senate bill demands — the Border Patrol would have to triple the number of agents on the ground from 20,000 to 60,000.”

    Critics say the government often is too fixated on high-technology solutions. C. Stewart Verdery Jr., a former Homeland Security official who now runs a lobbying firm, said federal officials should instead focus their limited resources on making it harder for illegal immigrants to work in the United States, an approach that would serve as an effective deterrent.

    “Where are you going to get the biggest bang for the buck?” Mr. Verdery said.
    “Enforcement of the workplace is probably the best area to invest more dollars.”

  2. I like your reasoning Katherine, I can very much agree with most of what you say here. However, with respect to the 1986 “blunder” under Reagan’s presidency, a) he was “fed” the wrong info; there were correctly 2.7 mill. illegals involved, yet at the time the number in question was half that number. b) the amnesty was based on various stipulations, i.e establishing a secure border to control the influx of illegals (our border to Canada was not mentioned), c) establishing programs to naturalize those illegals, )congressional follow-up of these and other stipulations.

    So let me state my case to you Katherine; it seemed like a program that “made sense” at the time. I know, I was here at that time(!) I had 4 years earlier obtained my citizenship as a LEGAL immigrant from Europe. It was not necessarily the content or structure of the approach (some reasoning that Reagan probably owned at the time, that failed to perform what it was designed to do. As we now 23 years later are faced with the same situation yet with a problem much greater, not only with respect to the number of illegals, you would have to ask what happened during those 23 years? If you state what the truth dictates and having watched the reality of border control, you would have to say it is not what is being said; it is what is not being done! That is what the problem is now and that is what the problem was back then! It seems to be the 800# gorilla in the room; that anyone watching this “game” played out in front of American voters and numerous potential new illegals knows to be true: the American politician, left or right does not have the political will to close up the border! That is the reason in a nutshell, and as long as this is not clearly laid out in front of the American people instead of misinformation and grandstanding, this problem will not go away. If this was not so, then Congress who was the political body to oversee the first amnesty bill’s follow-up would have done so and we would today have a “closed” border” and closed border policy with the majority of illegals turned into English-speaking Americans! Besides that we would have been able to establish a healthy, for the country healthy, immigration program that would have served both our nation and the immigrants. As it is, we have neither! We have an “insecure” border, illegals by the 10’s of millions that we “don’t know what to do with”, and a national immigration program that are only determined and refined by the political party that is in power at the time! And since only Congress, with all their hidden agendas, can resolve this problem I have little hope that this will ever be anything else but grand-standing in front of the American voters! If there is one individual that should be questioned on this great “void of solutions”, it should be Senator McCain, he was certainly around during the vote in 1986!

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