McCain: Illegal Aliens ‘Deprived’ of the ‘Rights of Our Citizens’

By Penny Starr | July 9, 2014 | 2:25pm EDT

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2014 National Migration Conference on July 9, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told attendees at a migration conference Wednesday that the 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States are being “deprived” of rights, including the rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens.

“To have 11 million people living in the shadows of this country is an unacceptable situation, and to deprive them of the rights – of the human rights, much less the rights of our citizens, which unfortunately happens everyday, is not acceptable in the greatest nation on earth,” McCain said at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) 2014 National Migration Conference in Washington, D.C.

McCain was one of the “Gang of Eight” in the Senate to sponsor the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Bill, or S.744. The Senate passed the bill – which called for a pathway to citizenship for certain illegal aliens -- in June 2013, but the House has not taken it up or alternative immigration legislation this term.

Speaking to hundreds of people whose work involves migrants and refugees around the world and in the U.S., including USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and the International Catholic Migration Commission, McCain touted “comprehensive immigration reform.”

“I believe in comprehensive immigration reform for all the reasons you do and more,” McCain said. “I believe in comprehensive immigration reform, because I think it’s a great boost to our economy.

“I can show you statistics by the Congressional Budget Office of dramatic increase in Social Security Trust Fund and increases in revenue,” McCain said. “The GDP will go up.”

Aside from “compelling economic reasons,” McCain said comprehensive immigration reform would help the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S.

“I also support [immigration reform] for all the same reasons that you do,” McCain said. “That to have 11 million people living in the shadows of this country is an unacceptable situation, and to deprive them of the rights – of the human rights, much less the rights of our citizens, which unfortunately happens every day, is not acceptable in the greatest nation on earth,” McCain said.

During his remarks, McCain stated repeatedly that the U.S. border with Mexico should be secured and that the flow of immigrants entering illegally had to be stopped.

“We can secure our border,” McCain said. “We have the technology to do so.”

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