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Mar 27, 2013 9:01 PM by Nathan O'Neal

McCain, Flake joined by senators for Nogales border tour

NOGALES - Four U.S. senators of the so-called 'gang of eight' got their boots on the ground today as they toured the international border in Arizona.

Senators John McCain (R) and Jeff Flake (R) were joined by Senators Chuck Schumer (D) of New York and Michael Bennet (D) from Colorado.

The senators took an extensive tour of the border, including a helicopter tour and meeting with local and federal agencies -- all in an effort to further their push for comprehensive immigraiton reform.

"Arizona is probably the state that might be more affected by immigration than any other," Schumer said, shortly after completing a tour of the border area.

While Schumer said the "Gang of 8" is "very close" to reaching an agreement on a bill, he admits that's just the first step.

"Passing that bill is going to be hard, being here will help us convince our colleagues why that bill is the right way to go," Schumer said.

The hope of the group is to balance security priorities while maintaining a vibrant cross-border commerce.

"Nobody is going to be totally happy with this legislation... because we are having to make compromises and that's what makes good legislation," said McCain.

During the tour, McCain tweeted that they had watched a woman climb over an 18-foot border fence, saying it's another remind that threats to border security are real.

"I'd seen it many times before, one of the sad things about all this is most of those people who jump over the fence are doing that because they want a better life, and I understand that," McCain insisted.

However, he admitted that how you deal with crossers who are seeking a better life must be different from how you deal with drug smugglers.

"But at the same time, we have to have a legal way of doing that," McCain added.

The so-called "Gang of 8" hope to have their immigration bill ready to go as soon as they go return to Congress in the coming weeks.

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