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Immigration reformers McCain, Schumer agree on need to halt 'future wave'

Sens. John McCain (R) and Charles Schumer (D) help craft the immigration reform bill the Senate is now weighing. Americans will support it if they trust that enforcement is robust enough to prevent a 'future wave' of illegal entries, the senators say.

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York and Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona speak at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. They were guests at the April 25 Monitor Breakfast.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Sens. Charles Schumer and John McCain are part of a bipartisan group of senators pushing immigration reform. Senator McCain (R) of Arizona was his party's 2008 presidential standard-bearer. Senator Schumer (D) of New York is vice chairman of the Democratic caucus. They were guests at an April 25 Monitor Breakfast.

How acting on immigration could improve Congress's standing with the public:

McCain: "The American people are interested in seeing some result from the Congress.... [In a recent poll,] members of Congress ranked just below a colonoscopy. We'd like to get above a colonoscopy."

How immigration reform could help the Republican Party:

McCain: "I have no illusions about whether passage of this legislation will gain Hispanic voters. It won't. But it will put us on a playing field where we can make an argument ... to gain Hispanic support."

The impact of the Boston Marathon bombings on immigration reform:

Schumer: "We require machine reading [of the travel documents] of any person who leaves the country or comes back.... [Authorities] would have known that someone on the [watch list] was both leaving and entering the country and it might have made the difference."

The importance of enforcement measures to win passage of immigration reform:

Schumer: "I agree with John.... The American people will support common sense, balanced solutions to legal immigration and the 11 million who are here if – and only if – they are convinced there will not be a third wave, future wave of illegal immigration."


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