July 13th, 2014
12:58 PM ET
9 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."

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"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. GOP = Greed Over People

    “They need to be right on the river,” he said. “They need to be there as a show of force, because that's the message that gets sent back very quickly to Central America.”

    Then there is Perry's "solution" have the National Guard gun down tweens as soon as their feet touch American soil.

    And those that survive the gunfire, will tweet "turn back" on their $600 smart phones.

    There goes the GOP "leaders" shooting from the hip, AGAIN!

    July 13, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Just ship John McCain back to his hometown of Coco Solo, Panama...!!, the children can stay.

    July 13, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. jimmy

    Good job McCain, now if you can just get Obama the retard to agree, we will be in good shape. Funny how all these pro illegal idiots think it's alright to break the law on crossing the border illegaly but want to uphold the law on deportation hearings. Can't have it both ways there Obama the clown supporters. All you pro illegal idiots can have them come live in your neighborhoods cause i definitely don't want them in mine. Nor do i want another cent of my tax dollars going to this filth.

    July 13, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. fpineda1854cat2009

    All this talk about the children let's include the mom's are coming with these kids and I say that because there in no mention of the parents just the kids.

    July 13, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. mike zuka

    Malfeasance in Congress! Racism at the DOJ! Treason in the Oval Office!!!

    July 13, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. ohnoyoudidn't

    McCain has been in the Senate for over 26 years, and just now he says something should be done with the border? What has he been doing for the last quarter of a century?

    July 13, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. rick

    This probably the ONLY TIME I will agree with anything he says.. Yes dump them BACK where they come from by ship.. Bus.. Train.. Any way possible. And beef up the Coast Guard to prevent any more boats of drugs being smugled up here.. Put a huge fence across entire southern border. 2 miles apart.. Patroled by military armed security. It wont be long before they start trying to come across armed and dangerous with weapons trying to FORCE their way in.. Give our military some combat experience needed. They are illegals.. Not guests.. Not political asylum seakers.. They are a BURDEN on the system of America.. And IF people are too STUPID to see the obvious.. Send THEM to try and get a job where a dozen are working for whats the federal minimum wage is supposed to be paid to a AMERICAN CITIZEN!!! Our economy would be in much better shape if it wasnt for the MILLIONS here already on welfare.!

    July 13, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Norma jean

    THIS whole immigration mess started with George Bush......the battle with Iraq started with George Bush...... and we all know who was playing puppeteer with "Georgie"!!!!........!Can't help but wonder what"his" opinion is at this point about the immigrants!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. J Anthony

    @margie and other reactionairies- the Obamas did not create this situation, and they cannot solve it by themselves. How about root-causes? These are the consequences of corporate globalism, black market capitalism,, and bad trade policies that benefit the wronng people.

    July 13, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Gary

    McCain knows the bill with border security is blocked by Republicans on the House. Anything to mug for the camera.

    July 13, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  11. Ugly America

    If we are to accept these people because they are from a miserably poor country and are economically disadvantaged, please explain how literally tens of thousands of them suddenly have $10,000 a head to pay smugglers to escape such dreadful poverty.
    If we accept them because they are fleeing gang violence and we have a moral obligation to save them (not what most are actually saying anyway) then how can we, in good conscience as Americans, allow ANY American child to live in Detroit or Chicago? Or Los Angeles for that matter?

    July 13, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Ugly America

    Since Latin nations are using this crisis they have caused us to profit on the excuse that their nations have been overrun by gangs, there are a couple of bargaining chips that gives the US.
    Their people are by-passing Mexico and other countries specially to flee to the US? We have no obligation to accept them if nothing is actively being done to change the conditions. So why not "offer" to send US combat troops to "assist" them in stamping out the gangs? They will undoubtedly refuse as Latin nations tend to be zealous about their own sovereignty.
    But the flip side should be "Keep your people home and take return of the ones here or accept our help".
    With that offer on the table, they will shoot their people trying to head for the US at their own border.
    It won't cost anything except some firm diplomacy. If they accept, our military shouldn't have much problem with the jokers among them but most likely they won't.
    The Latin nations plan for this to go on for a while. Mexico made a "safe-passage" treaty with Guatemala. It's going to take at least the real threat of some muscle being used for it to stop.

    July 13, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Chipster

    Since when does common sense matter to Congress. They refuse to reform the laws that prevent deporting the children and then demand return of the children. They insist that we should secure the border but refuse to close loopholes in the tax code and end subsidies to companies that are earning record breaking profits. They refuse to increase revenue by increasing taxes on the wealthy. Securing the border will cost far more money than the government is taking in. So, either increase revenue to pay for your wish list or sit down and shut up!

    July 13, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. Iloveusa

    Send them back and secure our borders!

    July 13, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Why isn't the CDC involved. The Center for Disease Control should be all over this. These people should be quarantined.

    July 13, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. J

    A poster here said America owes the Central American countries nothing. Dear Lord.

    The US Government was responsible for setting up puppet governments throughout countries like Guatemala and fueling guerillas in other countries such as El Salvador or Nicaragua. Because these countries (for example Guatemala) were starting to develop democratically elect governments which were of a leftist-nature, and starting to defend their products and overall economy from US companies such as the United Fruit Co. the US accused the local government of engaging in communist activities and thus removed the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT government and set up the military on the power. Military governments arose subsequently in the other Central American countries. Civil War started between guerrillas and the military throughout Central America, innocent people suffered as a result, got displaced out of their lands by US companies and the military, extreme poverty arose, and so here we are with kids trying to cross the border to escape from countries that have plummeted into corruption, extreme poverty, and violence. The US surely owes a lot to these Central American countries, which are now failed states partly because of US involvement in the 1950's. It is only right for the US to commence a stop to illegal immigration by helping these countries so kids don't have the necessity or desire to cross the border illegally in the future.

    July 14, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  17. J.V.Hodgson

    Dear senator McCain, to do what you suggest even with the reasons or logic you propound = an impeachable offense due to the bush 2008 law. Until that is repealed everything you say ( like most you say recently) is either illegal, logically flawed or simply Obama bashing for the sake of it.
    Keep it up, and this kind of utter nonsense, is what will create a big voting surprise come November.

    July 14, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. J

    I also have to add that America has to strengthen its presence in Central America especially in the extreme poverty-stricken areas so people that have no choice but to immigrate can present their case in a US embassy instead of venturing to certain suffering by trying to cross the border.

    July 14, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  19. Thomas

    I agree with McCain 100% , we need to liberate Mexico, make it our 51st sate .

    July 14, 2014 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    jwhite- Hannity would be proud of your distortion of reality.

    July 14, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Bumper sticker for GOP – "Love those fertilized eggs, hate the children, though."

    July 14, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  22. Bobby

    He's a RINO. He has been shillilng for amnesty and chain migration of millions. I wouldn't trust him with a dirty pair of socks. Talk is cheap. He won't push anything,neither will his fairy buddy Lindsay Graham. Blowhards both of them and Americans are sick of blow hards.

    July 14, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  23. Bobby

    Schott is correct. McCain is a globalist phony as is the WHOLE DEMOCRAT PARTY OF OPEN BORDERS. WE NEED NEW LEADERS THAT CARE ABOUT CITIZENS.

    July 14, 2014 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Thanks for the advice JOHN , sooooooo why don't you grarm Cruz and the slobbering MORON gorment go down to the boarder and TELL the CHILDERN THEY CANT COME IN AND CHANGE THEIR DIAPERS WHILE YOUR AT IT!!!!!!

    July 14, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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