Arizona Sen. John McCain was forced to defend his bipartisan immigration plan to disapproving residents in Phoenix on Tuesday as he embarked on town hall meetings across the state.
The immigration overhaul would be contingent on enhanced technology-driven border security and a tamper-proof Social Security card, McCain explained. In addition, he said, any pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would require them to learn English and pay back taxes and fines for breaking immigration laws, according to Politico.
“There are 11 million people living here illegally,” the Republican said. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them”
But his remarks drew a heated response from some in audiences. At one stop, a man shouted at McCain that only guns would stop illegal immigration. Another man said illegal immigrants should be prohibited from becoming citizens or voting.
A third claimed illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who came to the United States only for free government benefits.
McCain, however, took the anger and criticism with a good measure of calm. “We are a Judeo-Christian nation,” he said at one point, as he urged his constituents to have compassion.
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