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Arizona Senator John McCain talks immigration with LA Area Chamber of Commerce

Arizona Senator John McCain speaks to L.A. Chamber of Commerce members
Arizona Senator John McCain speaks to L.A. Chamber of Commerce members
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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This weekend, dozens of Southern Californians plan to march in Washington for immigration reform, joining thousands of activists from around the country.

Today, a different group of Southern Californians – members of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce – heard from a U.S. senator who took a lot of political heat for his efforts at immigration reform.

The question arose at lunch during the Chamber’s annual lobbying trip to Washington. What did Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona think the U.S. should do about the “flood of immigrants” “running over” California?

McCain cosponsored the last major immigration reform bill with the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. That measure died and GOP rivals criticized McCain for his efforts.

McCain told the Chamber that it now was up to President Obama to outline his immigration agenda. "He talks about immigration reform," McCain said. "I want to see his proposal! He’s the president of the United States. I’d like to see a proposal from the president of the United States and I’d like to review. So far, that has not happened."

McCain told the L.A. Chamber secure borders were important, particularly with the rise in drug violence in Mexico. But he also made the case for a temporary legal worker program using tamper-proof identification cards.