Sen. John McCain tours Arizona border in Nogales with 3 members of Gang of Eight

NOGALES, AZ - Four U.S. Senators were in Nogales Wednesday, touring Arizona's border.

The tour was hosted by Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.

McCain and Flake are members of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group tasked with coming up with a plan for immigration reform.

They are joined by two other group members, Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

They are getting a first-hand look at the real issues that face border security. 

The senators said they are 90% finished with the proposed immigration reform bill, and getting a first-hand look at the problems along the border gives them a better idea of what more needs to be done.

"We want to secure the border, once the border is secure by specific metrics, then people can become citizens," said Schumer.
 
And while the senators wouldn't discuss what those metrics entailed, Schumer said he has a better understanding of the challenges agents face.

The senators also saw several areas where the only protection is a barbed wire fence, and the everyday reality that this fence is fixed by everyday taxpayers like rancher Dan Bell.

"When it comes to the barbed wire, no one takes responsibility, it is usually up to the ranchers to do it," said Bell.

While the terrain makes it hard to build the infrastructure, the Gang of Eight wants to invest in technology to provide around the clock surveillance. An expense the senators promise will pay for itself.

"The high tech firms will pay a significant fee to provide technology, so we hope the bill is revenue neutral," said Schumer.

The senators said the technology that will help border agents protect the U.S.-Mexican border.

Four other members of the Gang of Eight were missing from Wednesday's tour.

Senator McCain said the missing senators will be down in the next few weeks so they can see for themselves the security problems people who live on the border deal with every day.

Nogales, which is part of the Tucson sector, is one of the more troubled areas along the Arizona border.

The sector reported the highest number of arrest and drug seizures than all nine other border sectors.

 

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