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McCain optimistic on immigration reform

Feb. 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says if House Republicans reject immigration reform the party is likely to suffer for it at the polls.

In an interview with the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, scheduled to be aired Sunday, McCain said he is "cautiously optimistic" a compromise being worked out in the Senate will pass the House, The Hill reported.

McCain, who is part of a bipartisan group working on the issue, said in the interview Friday the consequences of failure to pass a reform measure could be drastic for the Republican Party.

"So it's hard for me to predict," McCain said. "But I think you, I know what you're referring to, and that is the election results with a smaller number of our Hispanic/Latino citizens that are voting for Republicans. We understand that."

McCain said he supports giving immigrants living illegally in the United States a pathway to citizenship.

"You know, I don't know yet, because we haven't finished the package. I know that the attitude of the American people is that," he said. "And I think that there's a realization on my side of the aisle that we need to have this resolved. And that people should have a pathway to citizenship. But look, I've lost before and so for me to predict would be premature. But I do think that the attitude overall of the American people and members of the Senate is significantly improved to the point where I am cautiously optimistic."

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., said a bipartisan group in the House, working in secret, is close to agreeing on a compromise plan.

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