President Barack Obama's intention to sign an executive order to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants will hurt the nation's chances of comprehensive reform, Sen. John McCain told Newsmax TV
He and other senators have written to Obama urging him not to go forward with the plan.
"It means that it's going to dramatically harm the chances for comprehensive immigration reform and makes you question really how interested or committed he is to that, because if he would wait some months — a few months wouldn't matter either way; after all, we've been at this effort for a long time," McCain, an Arizona Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"Then maybe [House Speaker] John Boehner, with an increased number of representatives — Republicans in the House of Representatives —would be able to move forward in some fashion."
McCain, one of the original "Gang of Eight" senators who fashioned an immigration reform plan that eventually died on Capitol Hill, added:
"[It] doesn't have to be the way we did it in the Senate, but maybe some parts of it or some aspects of immigration reform, but if he comes out with executive order that many of us, including me, believes is unconstitutional, then he's going to harm the effort really badly.
"Some of us, [Sen.] Lindsey Graham and I and [Sen.] Marco Rubio wrote a letter to the president asking him to please don't do this now. We were part of the Gang of Eight that came up with it. So, all I can say is, it's very disheartening."
McCain — author, with Mark Salter, of the new book "Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War,"
published by Simon & Schuster — said Obama's plan to use executive power is not in keeping with the nation's history.
"Did our Founding Fathers say the president of the United States should issue an executive order and then he'd be willing to cancel that executive order, if [there was] a peaceful legislation?" McCain asked.
"I've read a lot about the Founders of the Constitution and . . . I never saw that one at all. And so, the president seems to be in some state of denial.
"We need to govern, we Republicans need to show we can govern, and he can end up for the last two years of his presidency in much better shape if we would sit down. Look at what Bill Clinton did in the '90s when we gained the majority in the House and Senate. We got a lot done."
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