PHOENIX - Arizona Sen. John McCain toured the Border Patrol’s processing center in Nogales on Friday.
After an extensive tour, McCain said he felt the children housed there are being treated well – they’re being fed, clothed and housed.
But he said he’s seeing the never-ending flow not as a cry for help, but a manipulation of the system.
“Parents are sending their children thousands of miles, often times alone, to exploit a loophole in our immigration system,” McCain said. “They know if their children cross the border without them that they will be reunited with family in the United States.”
McCain says the process needs to be fixed and immediate consequences enforced or the number of undocumented children crossing the border will continue to multiply.
In the meantime, he’s calling for additional bed space and more monitors to make sure undocumented immigrants are showing up to court, and if they’re ordered to go home they’re actually leaving the country.
He is also calling for President Barack Obama to change the message being sent to Central America.
“That if you come to this country illegally, no matter who you are, you cannot stay. That has to be the message because right now the message in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is that 'if you can get there and you are under 18 you can stay,’” McCain said.
McCain said children are being sent to a military base in Washington state because of the overcrowding in Texas, and now in Arizona.