McCain: $3.7B proposal doesn’t address the problem

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he could not support President Obama’s proposal to address the influx of undocumented children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border because it doesn’t actually solve the problem.

“The proposal that has come over for $3.7 billion has nothing to do with dispelling the idea … that if they come here they can stay,” McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “They cannot stay. … We cannot have this unlimited flow of individuals.”

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Lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned about the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that have been detained by the border patrol.

Earlier this week, the White House asked Congress for $3.7 billion to temporarily house and return the children to their countries. 

Senate Democrats have vowed to quickly move the proposal through committee. But McCain said more needs to be done to stop the children from making the “horrible” journey where many are abused along the way.

McCain, who was a lead sponsor of the Senate-passed immigration reform bill, was joined both other border state senators — Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — in calling for the administration to stop the flow.

“They stripped out all the reforms that would actually go to solve the problem and instead have asked for a blank check,” Cornyn said. 

Republicans have blamed the increase in minors crossing the border on Obama’s executive order to defer the deportation of illegal immigrant children who were brought to the United States by their parents, known as Dreamers. New children entering the country would not be eligible for deferred action and the White House has said most of them will be deported.

Obama is visiting Texas on Wednesday and Thursday, but he has not scheduled a stop at the border.

“President Obama is now — today — down in the state of Texas but sadly he is not visiting the border. … Instead he is doing fundraisers,” Cruz said. “Apparently there is no time to look at the devastation being done by his policies. … It is a disaster of the president’s own making.”

The Senate immigration reform bill passed last year included billions of dollars to increase border security. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has refused to allow a House vote on that bill.