A Monday story in Roll Call reports that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona has called for cutting off foreign aid to Central American countries from where the influx of illegal aliens, many of them unaccompanied children, are coming, as well as Mexico. This move would motivate those countries to cut off the flow of illegal immigrants and secure their own borders. The illegal immigrants are primarily coming from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and are being allowed to move freely through Mexico to get to the United States.
The remarkable aspect of this statement is that it comes from a senator who is a warm supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes a path to citizenship. Hot Air speculates that McCain has decided that the border crisis has made immigration reform too toxic to advance, hence the senator’s turn toward being a border hawk. His statement comes when President Obama is asking Congress for an emergency appropriation of $2 billion to deal with the border crisis.
The influx of illegal immigrants, said to be motivated by violence and economic turmoil in their own countries, as well as the belief that they will be allowed to stay in the United States, has caused chaos along the southern border. It has also caused ugly scenes such as has occurred in the town of Murrieta, California where protestors have blocked buses filled with immigrants that the federal government is attempted to the local Border Patrol station from overcrowded facilities in Texas.
How McCain’s sudden turn will affect the politics of illegal immigration is open to speculation. He may get the $2 billion he is asking for, but it is likely to come with some strings attached. McCain’s idea of cutting off foreign aid may be just one provision the president may have to swallow. Republicans and some Democrats will likely insist on stepped up border security, to the extent of deploying the National Guard to buttress the Border Patrol until the flood of illegal aliens is stemmed and those who have made it across are returned to their home countries.