Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) debated angry voters at a town hall in Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday over immigration reform, reports KPNX-TV (video below).
“There are 11 million people living here illegally,” Sen. McCain told the crowd. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them.”
“Cut off their welfare and all their stuff and they’ll go back!” voter Keith Smith said, as the audience applauded. “You said, ‘Build the dang fence.’ Where’s the fence?”
Sen. McCain then pointed to a chart showing that $600 million was being spent to build fences along the border.
“That’s not a fence!” Smith shouted.
“Oh, that’s not a fence? It’s a banana,” Sen. McCain joked. “We’re putting up a banana with about $600 million of appropriations we have.”
Another voter was angry that there were not armed troops on the border.
“If you look at the Constitution of the United States, we are not allowed to have an armed militia on our border,” Sen McCain explained. “Because that’s what our founding fathers wanted. Your problem is with them, not me.”
“One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration,” according to the Associated Press. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. Another voter said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.
Following the angry, loud town hall, Sen. McCain lashed out at a reporter from KPNX-TV: “You want to tell a story that there was somehow a problem here at this town hall meeting. That’s the story you want to tell. It’s not true. It’s what I’ve been doing for 30 years, long before you ever came to the valley.”