Despite criticism of the term, veteran Sen. John McCain is adamant that he won’t stop using the words “illegal immigrant.”
At a meeting in Phoenix, McCain was asked by a 25-year-old immigrant to “please drop the i-word” in favor of the word “undocumented,” The Arizona Republic reports
The senator declined, pointing out, “Someone who crosses our borders illegally is here illegally.”
He added, “You can call it whatever you want to, but it’s illegal. I think there’s a big difference between someone who does something that’s illegal and someone who’s undocumented. I’ll continue to call it illegal.”
The Arizona senator is a member of the Gang of Eight senators who are negotiating an immigration reform plan. “I don’t know if we can achieve agreement or not,” he said at the town hall meeting.
“We’ve been working literally night and day. And we may not succeed. But the other members of this negotiating team, I believe, are negotiating in good faith. We’ve made progress in a number of areas that I am encouraged by, but there are still areas that we are not in agreement.”
He warned one immigrant-rights worker at the meeting, who said she wanted to thank him for his work, “You’re not going to be completely happy with the legislation.”
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