Sen. McCain Flip-Flops on ‘Zero Tolerance,’ Now Urges Zero Enforcement

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Sen. John McCain has joined the elite push to minimize enforcement of border laws and is calling the President to stop detaining migrants who bring children northwards.

McCain’s  call to end enforcement came via a Tweet:

If federal border officials are denied the power to separate migrant parents from accompanying children, they will not be able to enforce immigration laws and unable to detain adult migrants as they move towards cheap-labor jobs in Democratic-dominated urban centers.

The denial would also mean that they cannot stop foreigners from enrolling their children in Americans’ schools — although few migrants will be able to register their children for schools in upper-income districts.

This easy migration policy is another flip by McCain, whose rhetoric was far different from his repeated advocacy for amnesty in Congress. In 2015, one year after he pushed for a huge “Gang of Eight” amnesty that would have legalized 30 million people in just ten years, and one year before his next election in 2016, he introduced a Resolution to be voted on by the Senate urging the restoration of a zero-tolerance border policy.

The 2015 resolution was submitted to the Senate to endorse “Operation Streamline” which prosecuted all migrants coming across the border in their home state. The program was so successful that President Barack Obama closed it down.

The Streamline program did not have to deal with migrants’ children because few migrants brought children into the zero-tolerance district.


To express the sense of the Senate regarding the success of Operation Streamline and the importance of prosecuting first time illegal border crossers.

Whereas the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector has long grappled with the crossing of undocumented aliens and has seen illegal traffic decline precipitously from the early 2000s to the present …

Whereas a key to the success in the Yuma Sector has been the implementation of Operation Streamline, a program established in 2005 that was described by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as ‘‘a DHS partnership with the Department of Justice, . . . a geographically focused operation that aims to increase the consequences for illegally crossing the border by criminally prosecuting illegal border-crossers.’’;

Whereas known for its ‘‘zero-tolerance’’ approach, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office cites 100 percent prosecution of illegal border crossers as a shared goal of a partnership including Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies;

Now, therefore, be it 1 Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

(4) the Executive Branch should immediately remove any issued or related prohibition, policy, guidance, or direction to cease prosecuting first time illegal border crossers under Operation Streamline.

In a press statement, McCain declared:

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), today introduced S. Res. 104, legislation expressing the sense of the Senate regarding Operation Streamline, a program that has seen success in reducing recidivism among illegal border crossers. The resolution, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), also calls on the Obama administration to immediately remove any directives or policies that would bar the prosecutions of first-time border crossers under this program.

Operation Streamline is a joint initiative administered by the departments of Homeland Security and Justice. In place since 2005, the program has been associated with a zero-tolerance approach, including criminally prosecuting illegal border crossers. It has been effective in the Border Patrol’s Yuma, Ariz., sector, with apprehensions dropping from 140,000 in 2005 – the year Operation Streamline was implemented – to less than 6,000 in 2014. By comparison, the Tucson sector, experienced more than 87,000 illegal crossings last year.

“Arizona’s Yuma Sector has gone from being one of the busiest sectors for illegal immigration in the U.S. to one of the most secure thanks to the stepped-up efforts of our law enforcement officials under Operation Streamline,” said McCain. “Despite this success, the Obama administration continues to scale back important progress by ceasing to prosecute illegal border crossers. The citizens of Arizona cannot afford to lose the gains that have been made to secure the southern border, and I will not stop fighting to ensure that we have the best policies in place to keep our communities safe.”

McCain also opposes President Donald Trump’s border wall, even though McCain ran for re-election in 2016 with a catchphrase, “Complete the danged fence”:





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