SEARCH

Entries in Secure Border (1)

Thursday
Feb172011

McCain, Napolitano Hint at Joint Benchmarks for Immigration Reform Talks

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Arizona Sen. John McCain and his Republican colleagues have long said they will only join Democrats on a comprehensive immigration reform deal if and when the Southwest border is secured.

Now McCain says he wants to develop a mutually agreeable set of benchmarks with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for what level of security is sufficient and how to determine when that goal has been met.

“We have to agree on certain criteria on what is successful securing of our border,” McCain said Thursday during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. “I think it would be very helpful to all of us if you could lay out what is necessary, what assets need to be devoted and what statistics could show us that the border is being secured, and at that time I think we could move forward with comprehensive immigration reform.”

The comments signal a shift in McCain’s willingness to engage in dialogue on the issue and possibly support a reform bill in the new Congress.

McCain has been an outspoken critic of Napolitano’s border security efforts in his state, and has disputed the administration’s claims that the border overall is as secure now as it’s ever been.

But Thursday, perhaps signaling a thaw in relations, McCain said Napolitano “quite appropriately” points out the record number of resources and enforcement actions her agency has undertaken along the border, even though he believes conditions have deteriorated in part of his state.

Napolitano has previously rejected Republicans' “secure border” precondition for progress on immigration reform. But Thursday she suggested a willingness to sit down with McCain and arrive at a common vision for what a reasonably secure border would look like.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio