Securing our borders by implementing such high-tech solutions as drone aircraft is essential to making the comprehensive immigration reform deal a reality, John McCain said Monday.
"A pre-condition is secure borders, and we have not done that," McCain said in an interview with Fox News Monday. "Now our borders are more secure, but they are by no means secure. In Arizona, the Sonora border is the major drug trafficking route for the drug cartels bringing drugs into the United States."
"We have to use a lot of high-tech — we’ve got to use drones, we’ve got to do a lot of things to get that border secure, but that must be done," McCain said.
The bipartisan plan laid out by McCain and six other Senators Monday calls for a commission of border state officials that would develop a standard for border security.
Under the legislation, the commission would be empowered to delay any pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants if they were dissatisfied by federal efforts to protect the border.
The establishment of such a commission and the powers it would have represents the largest break between President Obama’s immigration reform plan and Senate plans.
Asked repeatedly during his daily press briefing if Obama would approve of linking the two measures, press secretary Jay Carney avoided a definitive answer.
"We're not at a stage here where we're ... we're gonna negotiate details of legislation that doesn't yet exist," Carney said. "I think what is positive about this discussion is that bipartisan group in the Senate has embraced the principles that the president has long put forward and espoused."
When McCain was asked Monday if he thought fully securing the borders was a realistic goal, he answered in no uncertain terms.
“Is it not realistic to think that a nation such as ours could ... secure our borders? Is that not realistic? Come on. Of course we can secure our borders," McCain told Fox News.
"To think somehow that we are going to have a situation where drugs can flow freely over our border is something that I don’t think most of our citizens would agree [with], particularly since we spent so many billions of dollars on surveillance and that kind of thing," he added.
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