The Main Stream

Aug 13, 2013 9:16 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

McCain pushes for immigration reform at Tucson town hall

TUCSON- Sen. John McCain stopped in Tucson Tuesday afternoon to make a push for immigration reform at a town hall.

Tucsonans packed a room at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center to ask McCain questions and hear him speak about immigration reform.

In January McCain led a group of eight senators in proposing a sweeping immigration system overhaul. The senate passed the effort in June, but now McCain says the House needs to get on board. "I hope that our friends in the House will listen to these people and evaluate their position and hopefully they will be part of an effort to pass some legislation, so we can go to Congress and come up with a bill that can be signed by the President," McCain says.

The reform includes a pathway to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. "These are 11 million people who are here undocumented, who are living here in the shadows and who are literally living under the radar," says Tony Navarrete of Promise Arizona.

He and a group of other immigration activists attended the town hall to show their support for immigration reform.

The overhaul also calls for heightened border security and better enforcement on checking employees' immigration status. "This bill would increase the total personal income for Arizona families by $2.5 billion in 2020," McCain says.

"That is not chunk change," Navarrete says. "We're talking a real impact on our economy and we're also talking about really valuing the American values we hold dear to our hearts, which are the values of family and being proud to be an American."

Another hot topic at the town hall was gun control. Several victims from the January 8 mass shooting in Tucson voiced their support for expanded background checks on gun sales. Earlier this year McCain voted to expand background checks on gun sales.

Other topics Tucsonans brought up at the town hall include healthcare, climate change, the budget and sexual assault in the military.

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