Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl—who both supported comprehensive immigration reform when George W. Bush was in the White House—have a hard-edged response to President Barack Obama's immigration address in El Paso yesterday:
President Obama speaks about our broken immigration system; but what about our broken borders? During the President’s first visit to our nation’s southern border, we hope he will finally see first-hand the continued security challenges facing all of those who live along our southwest border. We hear from our constituents on a daily basis, and, while some progress has been made in some areas, they do not believe the border is secure. In fact, a recent GAO report confirmed that the Border Patrol has operational control of only 44 percent of the southwest border.
Unfortunately, when President Obama was in the Senate, he actively worked to undermine the reform that he now seems to be advocating during election season. This is not surprising considering he made the same evolution in 2008. It's too bad he didn't choose to follow through on those promises after his election.
Before any effort is made to undertake large-scale immigration reform, we encourage the President to support and work with us to pass the Border Security Enforcement Act, which will provide the much needed personnel, infrastructure, and technology to gain control of our southern border.
“Further, we would like to extend another invitation to the President to visit Arizona's southern border. As he is well aware, the Tucson Sector remains the most trafficked sector, with close to a quarter million apprehensions just last year. By comparison, the El Paso Sector where President Obama is speaking hasn’t had over 200,000 apprehensions since 1993. It is no wonder the President chose El Paso and not Tucson as a backdrop to talk about immigration reform.
One comment sticks out, besides the predictable rejection of comprehensive reform and push for more Border Patrol agents and the Border Security Enforcement Act: The declaration that we're in "election season." Since it's just six months since the last election, and the next one isn't for another 18 months, we have to ask: When is it not election season?