July 13th, 2014
12:58 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain: Stopping child immigrant nightmare must include returning children, securing border

Washington (CNN) – As thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America enter the U.S. along the southern border, Sen. John McCain believes any multi-pronged approach to the crisis must include two key elements: sending the children back to their home countries and securing the border.

"There has to be a halt to this … and the best way to do that is for planeloads of these young people to be returning to the country of origin and their families," the Arizona Republican told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"As tragic and as terrible as this situation is, we cannot have an unending flow of children from all over the world, much less Central America, into our country."

McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, also of Arizona, are sponsoring a bill to speed up the process of returning the child immigrants to noncontiguous countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Most of the over 50,000 children who've come to the U.S. since October are from those nations.

Many of the children have fled violence, including rape, gang activity and drug wars. And there is fear about sending them back to those dangers. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently said: "When you have an 8- or 9-year-old girl who is being raped by gangs that are sending them up here, or they're being sent by their parents to escape that kind of violence, I'm not sure Americans all really feel that we should immediately send them back."

To that, McCain shot back.

"In all due respect to my colleague in the Senate and others, are they ignoring what's happening to these children on the way up?" the senator said. "Are they ignoring the rapes, the death, the riding on the top of a train and the deaths and injury?"

Noting that many people around the world face similarly dire violence, McCain explained his case.

"The best thing to do is, if they have a case (for requesting asylum), we ought to beef up our consulate and our embassy and our capabilities, so they come there and present their case," he said. "And if they, if it's valid, then we will bring them to the United States of America - not showing up at our borders."

"If you come to our country illegally, you will be sent back," he added.

Regarding U.S. borders, McCain repeated something he's long said: They must be secured.

"Every nation has the requirement to secure its borders. Our borders are not secure, no matter what they say," McCain said.

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to help deal with the flood of immigrants. McCain was asked about the request.

"If we don't address the root cause of the problem, and that is sending kids back where they came from … then it won't matter how much money we spend," he said.

Filed under: Immigration • John McCain
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. The REAL Truth...

    The GOP is great at rolling out vacuous, generic terms like "secure the border"!! What exactly does that mean.. enforcement isn't a problem... we're apprehending them left and right... we've had an almost 1005 increase in the number of Border Patrol agents under this administration... so please.. would some good little drone tells us what "secure the border" means to the Republicans... or if it's merely [MORE OF THE USUAL] chest-thumping and parrotted rw playbook ??

    July 13, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Stuffitu

    What he says is common sense. Iam sure Obozo and Holder will blast him for it soon. It I what they do you know.

    July 13, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |

    Typical. Not a word about the immigration reform bill that he sent to the House of Jokers. Border security is a big part of it.

    July 13, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Remember how GW Bush and the righties mentioned over and over that our invasion of Iraq ended the use of "rape rooms"?

    "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."—President Bush, remarks to2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

    And yet now the righties are OK with sending children back – by the planeload – to face these atrocities.

    The hypocrisy is ASTOUNDING.

    July 13, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    The root cause of this sudden influx of unaccompanied children is twofold:

    1. The violence overwhelming their countries of origin (El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, which has the highest per-capita rate of murder ON THE PLANET).

    2. Fox and the RWNJ media lying over and over and over again about all the "freebies" illegals supposedly get when they come here.

    THOSE are the primary reasons for the sudden influx of refugee children – that, and their parents' desire to save them.

    July 13, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    -don't give green cards just like pop-corn. Don't be stupid, let them work for 25 years or so.

    July 13, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. g

    helping children from a country run by drug lords ,no-giving guns to terrorist yes–must be Mccain talking

    July 13, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Senator McCain....... you ran for president and lost...frankly we are getting tired of you and your opinion.....please move on!!

    July 13, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Norma jean

    SENATOR Mc Cain.........You ran for president and lost....Your opinions are falling on deaf ears...why not just give up??

    July 13, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. Mike

    For once McCain makes since. Send them ILLEGAL invaders back ASAP.

    July 13, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Margie

    McCain is absolutely correct. The flood of illegals must stop. They should go through the proper process to enter this country, not sneak across the border. We owe them nothing. The government owes the citizens of this country protection against such an invasion. And, as McCain stated, no amount of money will help if we don't beef up our borders. These children as well as parents should be sent back immediately. And, I would go further to say, "If the United States threatened to cut off all aid to those countries who are encouraging their citizens to flee to the U.S. you would see an end to these illegals trying to enter this country."

    July 13, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    Seems this senile old man forgets that the shrub is the President that signed into LAW a bill that REQUIRES all children from non border sharing countries to be allowed a hearing to see if they are being used in human trafficking.

    His attention would be better spent changing the CURRENT LAW than whining, but if is Sunday morning and he Ms. Gresham never met a Sunday morning talk show they could pass up!

    July 13, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. bassman

    Thank You John McCain for giving us Sarah Palin. She drives Liberals batty, and exposes media bias. No politician in our history has done more to show just how far left our media had become. CNN moving back to the center proves that point.

    July 13, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. elisabeth

    For once I agree with McCain, the BORDER MUST BE SECURED first of all, and do nothing congress must revise immediately W's law allowing all illegals from countries non contiguous with the US to enter the country illegally and possibly face deportation whenever it might happen.....Second hire militia to work with border patrol and enforce NO TRESPASSING into our country Third stop providing free education and free medical care to everyone here illegally, Fourth , fine all employers hiring illegals. Even if we cannot shut the border, not allowing them to go to school, and use our hospitals for free and not getting jobs, like Romney had said, THEY WILL SELF DEPORT.
    Also our president and his lady have to stop betraying us and selling us out to the latinos invasion... Michelle's statement at this latinos' conference was more than a leap overstepping all boundaries, as the USA 1st lady, what came out of her mouth was nothing else but an insult to all of us tax payers and law abiding american citizens. Obama and his wife have become an embarrassment to our country. I did not want to believe it when the Republicans were saying that obama;s policies had brought us to this nightmare at the border, but now that michelle has clearly told them that it was ok to come here which ever way to seek a better life at our expenses, the end obamas term will not come soon enough. I am too ashamed to be a democrat anymore, he does not have any respect for the laws of our country and it is not acceptable. Michell go back to growing vegetables in your backyard and stay out of the politics of our country, you were not elected, we have inherited you and that does not give you the right to be trade us.

    July 13, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. SEAN

    I agree with McCain 100%

    July 13, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Andrew

    I agree McCain. But these children were all stopped at the border . we doubled our agents in the last 10 years. Its time for immigration reform. Rather than hit the news shows you should go talk to your Republican friends in congress. You know the lazy do nothings that are collecting a fat paycheck

    July 13, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I finally can agree with Mr, McCain. All who enter this country illegally should be sent home

    July 13, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Dave

    Hey stupid republicons, these children are refugees, NOT illegals and the law Bush signed in 2008 requires we take care of them and not deport them right away.

    July 13, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. jwhitehawke

    “Obama was able to close down Washington Mall, he was able to stop veteran’s ceremonies, he’s able to shut down a Blue Ridge Parkway, he was even able to shut down the Grand Canyon, visits to the Grand Canyon, he’s able to shut down visits to Yellowstone National Park, he was able, while the World War II memorial was shut down, he allowed for a pro immigration rally… yet he tells us that he can’t shut down the border!” ~ Rush Limbaugh

    July 13, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    we are with you sir

    July 13, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Gary

    It's only a nightmare for the children. It's BS from the ones who will spend billions helping other country's but can't seem to help theses kids. How many of you whiners are children or grandchildren of imagrints?

    July 13, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Michael Schott

    John McCain, you are part and parcel of this entire immigration problem. You speak for the globalist cabal that has its tentacles throughout our government, but you are entirely disconnected from the vast majority of American Citizens who know that any rewards for lawbreakers only encourages more of the same.

    July 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. rs

    Well, Mr. McCain, that is what the President is doing- why does your party continue to say one thing and do another?

    July 13, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    from the man that gave us sarha palin. i don't listen to much.......

    July 13, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Beef up our consulates"?

    Yep, that is the ticket, put more Americans in the very countries rife with the disorder these child refugees are fleeing!

    So, we can have even more yammering about Benghazi like events?

    That is a sure fire fix you moronic simpleton!

    July 13, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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