February 16th, 2014
12:47 PM ET
9 months ago

McCain: ‘I won’t give up’ on immigration reform

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Sunday he's not abandoning immigration reform this year, warning that the country's changing demographics make reform an imperative task for Republicans.

"I have not given up hope that we will act - and we must act," the Arizona Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."

McCain, a co-author of a Senate immigration reform bill, said he remains hopeful a House Republican plan can move forward.

House Republicans laid out last month a blueprint of immigration "standards," saying there "will be no special path to citizenship" for the country's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. The GOP principles call instead for a path to legalization - and only after those already in the country illegally get at the back of the line and the federal government continues to bolster border security.

But Speaker John Boehner later signaled any action is unlikely this year, because House Republicans don't trust President Barack Obama on the issue.

"I won't give up. We have the broadest coalition of support of any legislation I've ever been involved in - big businesses, small businesses, evangelicals, Catholic Church - the list goes on and on. It's time for those people to weigh in and bring pressure to bear and say look, we need to act," he said.

McCain, who is serving his fifth term in the Senate, said his assessment last year that his party cannot win another election without immigration reform remains true, as "the demographics will overtake" many parts of the country.

"Again I urge my House colleagues to consider whatever way they want to pursue to try to address this issue, because it's going to have to be addressed. And to wait until 2015, when we're now involved in Republican primaries, (is) obviously not be a viable scenario," he said.

The Senate passed a comprehensive bill that included a path to citizenship last year, but the House has not taken up the measure.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    When did the GOP care what the vast majority of Americans are in favor of? Reality is not a friend of republicans.

    February 16, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Vence

    The old Arizona fox got it right. Republicans only chance to win against Hillary is to pass immigration reform ASAP. Citizenship included ASAP.

    February 16, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Harold Read

    As he sat there and watched a woman climb over the border fence and enter the country illegally.
    US Code 8 Seection 1326. Enforce US Laws!

    February 16, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Isn't it time for Grandpa Munster to retire?

    February 16, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Mc Cain neither party wants you

    February 16, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. SchedulerLewis

    Mr. McCain, hopefully, will realize that his voice is not relevant in this current period. He does what's good for HIM, and what HE feels is best. I don't believe he's interested in anything except himself.

    February 16, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Just

    Sanctuary cities and stars, the birthright, lax immigration law enforcement is what caused the massive invasion of criminal illegal invaders. Juan McCain is part of letting that happen. Now the political heroes want to get back pats for addressing problems they in fact created.

    February 16, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Hector Slagg

    Humm,
    This bad copy. Not sure what is stopping illegals from returning to their own country and putting in their papers. Over a million a year are now becoming citizens using the system now in place. Anything else is Amnesty.

    February 16, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Sip That Kool Aid, It's All You're Good For.

    John, your messing with your own party now. They seem to have some other interest at heart, not your's.

    February 16, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Is this a change from his ' build the fence ' stance?

    February 16, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Joe

    So what about legal immigrants? Can they at least do something for this part?

    February 16, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Chris-E...al

    Dont give up john m. them fence jumpers 'Where they exit' are killing our economy and clogging our E.R.'s an bringing tainted drugs across our borders .an takeing u.s. jobs .! its comeing down to picking apples an oranges with these dims in control . you no the good book says if you dont work u dont eat .

    February 16, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Good Luck old Man !

    Not so Happy Trails for the GOP if you don't do something about Immigration .

    February 16, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Sorry old man, but you lost my respect when you unearthed the screecher from AK.
    You and ms. Lindsay need to go have mint tea on his porch in SC.

    February 16, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Why don't GOP controlled congress at least introduce immigration reform. Very pathetic congress I saw.

    February 16, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Tommy G

    Go away McCain. We aren't granting amnesty to tens of millions of law breaking country invaders, only to wind up with the same problem in another 10 years as many more come for their round of amnesty and citizenship.

    February 16, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. earth

    McCain, one of the true American heroes of our times, if the legacy immigration reform ramp through the Tea Party Republicans Extremism for American people.

    February 16, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    You may have no option, after November.

    February 16, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |