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McCain wants Obama to visit border

By the CNN Wire Staff
Sen. John McCain says he'd "love for the president to come and visit the border."
Sen. John McCain says he'd "love for the president to come and visit the border."
  • John McCain says Obama has not made time to visit the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Border security should be a top priority, he says
  • Mexican violence can spill over to the U.S. side, McCain says
  • The upcoming elections can be "seismic," he says
  • John McCain
  • Barack Obama
  • Arizona

(CNN) -- Republican Sen. John McCain on Sunday invited President Barack Obama to visit the border with Mexico to get a complete picture of the region and called on the president to do more for security.

If "anybody hasn't seen what's going on south of our border, they have been oblivious to the terrible, terrible struggle that's going on down there -- 28,000 Mexican citizens being killed, the murders taking place just south of our border, the invasions and the insecurity in the southern part of our state," the Arizona senator said on "Fox News Sunday."

Securing the border must be a priority for the current administration, he said.

"I'd love for the president to come and visit the border. Unfortunately, he hasn't had time to do so," McCain said.

Congress recently has passed some measures, including $600 million to pay for 1,500 National Guard troops to the border as well as two unmanned drones to patrol the area.

Last month, Obama signed a bill that provides $600 million in emergency funding to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Among other things, the bill provides for roughly 1,500 new law enforcement agents, new unmanned aerial vehicles, new forwarding operating bases and $14 million in new communications equipment. The measure attracted strong Democratic and Republican support.

Obama praised the plan after the Senate passed it, saying that congressional passage "answers my call to bolster the essential work of federal law enforcement officials and improve their ability to partner with state, local and tribal law enforcement."

Obama argued that the new law would facilitate cooperation along the border between the U.S. and Mexican governments, and asserted that it would make "an important difference" in the push for comprehensive immigration reform.

On Sunday, McCain said, "Oh, I think there's been something done right. But the fact is that we haven't got a secure border. We need more fence. We need more surveillance capability."

The drug cartel violence south of the border will spill over onto the U.S. side if security isn't ramped up, he said. The people who live in southern Arizona do not have a secure environment, he added.

McCain cited an instance where the police chief of Nogales, Arizona, was told that his police officers will be killed if they interfere with the drug cartels.

The former Republican presidential nominee also addressed speculation of tax cuts for businesses to boost hiring and investment by the Obama administration.

"My reaction is that we always like to see deathbed conversions, but the fact is if we'd had done this kind of thing nearly a couple years ago we'd be in a lot better shape," he said.

Democrats, McCain said, are "just flailing around."

What he has heard from his constituents, particularly small and large business people, is that they are hurting and want some kind of certainty, he said.

McCain supports extending the Bush tax cuts to provide that certainty.

The upcoming midterm elections could be "seismic," he predicted, "But we've got to give Americans a reason to be for us rather than be just against the Democrats and the president."

To that end, McCain praised members of the Tea Party members for invigorating the base.