Speed Reads

Immigration Reform

John McCain thinks he can force Trump to sign a bipartisan immigration bill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the Arizona Republic in an interview Thursday that when he returns to Washington, D.C., after treatment for brain cancer, "immigration reform is one of the issues I'd like to see resolved." Reform has long been important to McCain, who joined forces in 2013 with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on an ultimately unsuccessful bipartisan collaboration on immigration, the Gang of Eight.

McCain said "we'll know in a few weeks [about the cancer]," but before he left D.C. for treatment, he floated the topic of a bipartisan immigration reform revival with Schumer. "I've got to talk to [Schumer] about when would be the best time. I think there are all kinds of deals to be made out there. I really do," he said.

While President Trump would likely be reluctant to sign anything short of the uncompromising vision he has promised to his base, McCain claimed that "what I do know is that if we could pass it through the House and Senate the way we passed it through the Senate last time [with the Gang of Eight], it's like this Russia [sanctions] bill — it doesn't matter. Do you think [Trump] signed [the Russia sanctions bill] because he liked it?" Trump earlier this week signed a bill levying new sanctions on Russia that had passed both chambers of Congress with veto-proof majorities.

On the topic of Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, McCain said he wasn't inherently against it, "but go to China and you'll see a border wall there."

"We need technology, we need drones, we need surveillance capabilities, and we need rapid-reaction capabilities," McCain said. "But to think that a wall is going to stop illegal immigration or drugs is crazy." Read his full interview with the Arizona Republic, or watch below. Jeva Lange