WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain, a major proponent of the immigration reform bill and a representative of a border state, said he hoped the Senate would revisit the issue of immigration because, he said, enforcing the border is a matter of "national security."
"Well, my friends, because we didn't [pass immigration reform], then, as I said, several hundred people will cross the Arizona border today and into Arizona and go around the country, and several hundred tomorrow and then the next day," McCain said at a press conference in Iowa on Friday. "So it's not an issue that we can say 'well, it's over' - because it's not over. We still have broken borders, and we still have this problem of not finding out who these people are."
The bipartisan bill in the Senate included a plan to enforce the border while giving a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants already working in the United States. The majority of Democrats and President Bush favored the bill, but most conservatives were against it. McCain had received criticism from some conservatives for his support for the bill.
"I was disappointed that that happened," McCain said. "But I respect the process, and I respect the views of those who disagree."
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich