Senators tour the border with Mexico in Nogales, Arizona. (Photo : Twitter / John McCain)
Senator John McCain tweeted a picture as he witnessed a woman scaling the fence on the border between Mexico and the United States, while touring the border with members of the Senate's "Gang of Eight."
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 27, 2013
Border Patrol successfully apprehended her, but incident is another reminder that threats to our border security are real — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 27, 2013
"Border Patrol successfully apprehended her, but incident is another reminder that threats to our border security are real," he added later.
McCain toured the border in Nogales, Ariz. with Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Michael Bennet of Colorado and fellow Arizona Republican Jeff Flake.
Schumer expressed his shock at seeing a border crossing right before his eyes. "You can read and you can study and you can talk but until you see things it doesn't become reality. I'll be able to explain this to my colleagues. Many of my colleagues say, 'Why do we need to do anything more on the border?' and we do. We should do more," Shumer said.
The bipartisan Senate group has been working on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country.
The bill makes reform contingent upon increased border security. At a news conference later, McCain said a distinction must be made between violent criminals who cross the border and people just looking to escape poverty.
"I've seen it many times before. One of the sad things about all this is that mostly people who jump over the fence are doing that because they want a better life and I understand that. We try to separate the drug cartels from individuals who are simply trying to cross over so they can improve their lives, but at the same time we have to have a legal way of doing that," he said.
The Senate is on recess for the Easter holiday, but negotiations between the senators continue. They hope to have a proposal in place by mid-April, despite recent delays.