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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Tuesday that an amendment to immigration reform legislation in the Senate will make the United States-Mexico rival the Berlin Wall.
An amendment authored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) was easily approved in the Senate on Monday, winning support from many Republicans who originally had misgivings about the immigration reform effort.
"I think that, first of all, the legislation concerning beefed up border security removes any validity to the argument that border security is not sufficient," McCain said during an appearance on CNN. "I mean, this is not only sufficient, it is well over sufficient. We'll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall so that's why I think this amendment was very important."
The Corker-Hoeven amendment, which will double the number of border security officers, made some Democrats like Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) squeamish. Although he ended up supporting the measure, Leahy said last week that he was "sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving" after reading the amendment.
McCain argued that the bill's "path to citizenship" provision — decried by many on the right as "amnesty" —includes tough requirements for those who have entered the country illegally.
"Are we going to let a de facto amnesty of 11 million people living in the shadows in this country or are we going to see a path forward? And that path forward is clearly one that gives people a legal status but then a long, tough, hard road to citizenship," McCain said. "I mean 10, 13 years, longer than that, pay fines, pay back taxes, learn English, get in line behind everyone else. So, this is a border security measure which I think should suffice to satisfy any critic and it is a way forward — a tough way forward — so that we can resolve this and bring 11 million people out of the shadows."