McCain: 'We're working night and day' for immigration bill

March 26, 2013

Senator John McCain held a town hall meeting at a North Phoenix community center Monday that covered a broad range of topics, but immigration dominated the conversation. 

McCain town hall Sen. John McCain told people at a townhall meeting Monday he feels hopeful new bipartisan legislation to reform immigration will be ready soon. (Photo by Christopher Connelly -- KJZZ)

McCain told the packed crowd that the bipartisan so-called ‘Gang of Eight’ senators are working hard to craft a comprehensive immigration reform proposal.  He said they will need to strike a balance between border security and a pathway to citizenship.

“I don’t know if we can achieve agreement or not, we’ve been working night and day,” McCain said.

McCain said they all agree that undocumented immigrants will have to pay a fine and back taxes, learn English and move to the back of the line before working toward citizenship.

McCain would not go into most of the details under discussion -- he said it was too soon. 

A coalition of immigration reform advocates showed up with signs thanking the Senator.

“We wanted to thank him for his leadership and moving the conversation forward on immigration,” said Raquel Teran of Mi Familia Vota. “But we also wanted to let him know that we are expecting this conversation to move into legislation soon.”

But Teran did not get what she wanted because McCain declined to give a firm timeline. He did say he was hopeful the Gang of Eight will have an agreement in the near term.

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