TUCSON â€” Saying if his and fellow Arizona Republican U.S. Sen. Jon Kylâ€™s 10-point border security plan had been enacted last year, the U.S. border with Mexico would be in better shape today, the stateâ€™s senior U.S. Sen. John McCain said the proposal will be reintroduced next week in the Senate.
Bill Hess/Wick News Service John McCain talks during a news conference in Tucson Thursday.
Speaking at a short press conference accompanied by U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar of Congressional District 1, Ben Quayle of CD3, David Schweikert of CD5 and Jeff Flake of CD5, he and the others met with the widow and brother of Douglas-area rancher Robert Krentz, who was killed last year and whose homicide remains unsolved, led McCain to say, â€śWe have a lot to do.â€ť
The ranchers want to be able to live their lifestyle in a fear-free atmosphere, the senator said.
Violence south of the border by those involved in human smuggling and the drug cartels is getting close to the United States and Arizona, McCain said.
Noting he and the four Republican House members from the state â€” absent but invited to be part of the group was Trent Franks CD2 â€” the stateâ€™s senior U.S senator said he is worried about the decision by the Secretary of Homeland Security â€” and former Democratic Arizona Gov. â€” Janet Napolitano, to remove the special National Guard assets assigned to Arizona.
Instead of them leaving â€” reportedly in June â€” McCain said more should be assigned, as suggested in the original McCain and Kyl 10-point plan, a proposal McCain mentioned four times during the press conference.
Until the U.S. Border Patrol is increased, the National Guard is needed to help secure the border, the senator said.
Flake said the increasing amount of smuggling of humans and drugs does not bode well for the residents of Arizona.
Schweikert joined in noting Mexicoâ€™s crackdown of activities in that country without more border security in the United States â€śis a danger to all Arizona citizens.â€ť
In the past, Flake has supported a comprehensive immigration plan which could have included an avenue to citizenship, according to various news reports.
However, since he has an apparent interest in running for Kylâ€™s senate seat, now that the junior senator has announced he will not seek another term n 2012, reports indicate Flake is backing away from a comprehensive immigration overhaul proposal and moving more to the right on the issue.
Possibly complicating the issue is Franks, who also is reported to be looking at running for Kylâ€™s senate seat.
McCain noted during the delegationâ€™s visit to Douglas â€” they also went to Nogales and later Thursday went to Yuma â€” they saw a video showing a confrontation, including some shooting, on a street in Aqua Prieta, which shares the international boundary with Douglas in an area adjoining the Arizona city bringing the violence much closer to American citizens.
Flake said, â€śWeâ€™ve got to be more serious about the border (security).â€ť
The Border Patrol reports that for every one individual apprehended for entering the United States illegally through Arizona, nearly 3 â€” 2.97 â€” others are successful, he said, adding the number of successful illegal entries could be higher.
McCain said the people of Arizona are not happy with border security and while here has been some success, more needs to be done and unless Congress, the president and Homeland Security work together the subject will continue to come up time and time again and those who live along the border will remain â€śskepticalâ€ť of the governmentâ€™s will to secure the border.