By Selena Hill ( | First Posted: Jul 30, 2013 09:00 PM EDT

McCain: 'We Are Not Winning' Push For Immigration Reform (Photo : Reuters)

Sen. John McCain continued his push for immigration reform in Congress while speaking at a forum hosted by AFL-CIO and the Economic Policy Institute on Tuesday.

According to the Arizona senator, if Republicans do not pass comprehensive legislation, then the GOP will be unable to win another national election.

"I think this fall is very important," McCain said. "It's very important because we get into 2014 - the next election cycle. I think the issue really has ripened to the point that enough Americans are aware of it, we are either going to act or not act."

McCain echoed the same sentiment Monday while speaking on PBS Monday.

"Let's say we enact it, comprehensive immigration reform - I don't think it gains a single Hispanic voter, but what it does, it puts us on a playing field where we can compete for the Hispanic voter," McCain told PBS' Gwen Ifill, according to ABC News. "If we don't do that, frankly, I don't see - I see further polarization of the Hispanic voter and the demographics are clear that the Republican Party cannot win a national election. That's just a fact."

McCain compared the current system to "de facto amnesty because they are not leaving" and noted that most Americans support the pathway to citizenship as long as the undocumented pay a fine, learn English and get on the back of the line.

The Republican senator also condemned Rep. Steve King for the controversial remarks he made about DREAMers last week.

King, who has vowed to try to block comprehensive reform, said many young undocumented immigrants are drug mules with "calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert," reports the Huffington Post. In response, McCain said, "I believe in America and I believe that at the end of the day we are going to do the right thing," he said. "We're not going to talk about people with cantaloupe calves, we're not going to indulge, engage in that kind of despicable rhetoric ... we are going to talk about the greatness of America."

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