Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Democrat Michael Bennet of Colorado and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York were near the town of Nogales, Ariz., as part of a fact-finding tour when an illegal immigrant tried to enter the U.S. just a few yards away. The woman scaled an 18-foot-tall fence, but ended up in the waiting arms of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers.
After the surprising event, McCain took to Twitter.
“Just witnessed a woman successfully climb an 18-ft bollard fence a few yards from us in #Nogales,” he wrote. “Border Patrol successfully apprehended her, but incident is another reminder that threats to our border security are real.”
Border patrol agents are busy in Nogales. The town regularly deals with drug smugglers and “coyotes” who herd illegal immigrants across the border for a price, reports The Daily Mail. According to a report released by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2008, there were 11 million immigrants with no documentation living illegally in the United States. The majority of them crossed the border from Mexico.
The senators were making the tour in the hopes of creating a comprehensive immigration bill that would give millions a path to citizenship.
"The bottom line is we are very close. I'd say we are 90 percent there. We have a few little problems to work on ... but we're very hopeful that we will meet our deadline," said Schumer. "We hope to have a bill agreed to and done .. the day we come back," he said.
Supporters of the new bill argue that giving illegal immigrants some sort of legal documentation would allow federal and state government agencies to track their whereabouts, tax their earnings and get an accurate count of how many are in the U.S.
McCain's spokesman would not comment on the episode at the border beyond pointing to the senator's tweets.