McCain: Pathway to Citizenship Must Be 'Fundamental Principle' of Immigration Bill

On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that a pathway to citizenship for every illegal immigrant had to be a part of any immigration reform bill that ultimately is signed by President Barack Obama.

"It's my view that the fundamental principle of this legislation has to contain a path to citizenship," McCain said at a forum with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), according to the Huffington Post. "We remain amenable to negotiations on various aspects of it ... but a path to citizenship would have to be part of it."

McCain and Flake were members of the "Gang of Eight" that wrote the Senate's immigration bill. Conservatives have worried that provisions of the Senate bill, including a pathway to citizenship for all of the country's illegal immigrants, would ultimately make it into a final bill if the House and Senate go to conference after the August recess. 

House Republicans will reportedly take a piecemeal approach to immigration reform and possibly attempt to pass multiple pieces of legislation that can get them to conference. But McCain said he still did not believe the House would reject a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants when asked if he would be comfortable if the House just passed its version of the DREAM Act. 

"I don't accept your premise that the House of Representatives will absolutely reject a path to citizenship," McCain said. "I just don't accept that. I think we will know more in two or three months."


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