There is one sure way to solve the immigration crisis going on at the United States' southern border, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain believes: Send the illegal immigrants back home as quickly as possible.
"There has to be a halt to this," McCain told CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley Sunday. "The best way to do that is for planeloads of these young people to be returned to their country of origin."
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The children's families are spending as much as a year's salary "paying these coyotes, who are also in the business of $85 billion a year drug business...to send their kids north. As soon as they see their money is not effective in getting their kids to this country, then it will stop and not before," said McCain.
He acknowledged that the situation is "tragic" and "terrible," but "we cannot have an unending flow of children from all over the world, much less Central America, coming into our country."
On Friday, McCain said he plans to introduce legislation to require illegal immigrants arrested at the U.S. border to wear ankle monitors
so they can easily tracked by federal officials.
More than 52,000 illegal minors have been arrested at the border since October — and over 181,000 more have been apprehended in the same period at the South Texas border after crossing the Rio Grande Valley.
Within 72 hours of their arrests, the illegals are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). They then are detained at shelters until they can be released to family members while awaiting to appear for a deportation hearing in immigration court.
But U.S. Border Patrol officials readily admit that nearly half of all illegals who receive a court date do not show up.
McCain and Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake plan to include the requirement as part of a larger package of legislation to address the border crisis.
While some in Congress have argued that the children are coming to the United States to escape dangers in their Central American homelands of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the children are also facing dangers coming to the United States, McCain pointed out.
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"Are they ignoring what's happening to these children on the way up?" said McCain. "Are they ignoring the rapes, the death, the riding on the top of a train and the deaths and injuries?"
Instead, McCain said, the United States should improve its consulates and embassies so people in other countries can come there to present their cases, "and if it's valid, then we'll bring them to the United States of America, not showing up at our borders."
Meanwhile, the United States can't deal with an "unending stream of children," which puts a strain on the country's borders.
"Our borders are not secure, no matter what they say," said McCain.
McCain also called for changing the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act so incoming children will be treated the same way they are treated when they're coming in from other countries.
"If you come to our country illegally, you will be sent back," said McCain. He noted that while life is not good for the children in their home countries, "things are terrible for them on the trip, and it has to be stopped as well."
McCain called the situation "a humanitarian crisis" that is costing the country a great deal of money.
"The president wants $3.7 billion," said McCain. "If this keeps up he'll ask for another $3.7 billion next year. It has got to come to a halt."
But meanwhile, the problem won't be solved if its root cause isn't addressed, said McCain.
"The cause of it is that they believe they can come here and stay no matter what the circumstances are,"said McCain.
Also on Sunday, McCain said that he believes the United States needs to do what it can to bring an end to the current tensions between Israel and Hamas.
"Given conditions in the Middle East, this might be more dangerous than any time in the past, not only conditions domestically within Israel but also the fact Egypt is not playing the role they traditionally have," said McCain. "We want to do what we can do to bring an end to this conflict but it's important to understand there's no moral equivalency here."
He called Israel's restraint "admirable" in the face of a barrage of attacks on it, but warned that the situation is becoming more tense.
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