Sen. McCain takes on terrorism, immigration
CONCORD — Sen. John Mc-Cain said Monday the Boston Marathon bombings showed that those in Washington who have said the United States is no longer a terrorism battleground are mistaken.
In dealing with terrorism, "There is always a tension between the protection of individual liberties and the role of government to protect all of us," the Arizona Republican and two-time presidential candidate said in an interview after appearing at a conference at the University of New Hampshire Law School's Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy.
"The question is, how do we address a situation such as this, where apparently people came to this country and became radicalized while they were here?" McCain said.
"We don't understand relatively new technologies, such as the Internet, where people get radicalized. And then there is always a problem with copycats.
"I guess the answer is: vigilance, lessons learned. But also, look at where we were on 9/11 and how we were able, with these guys, through the use of technology, to track them down in a way we never could have before 9/11.
"We should take some satisfaction in our ability to react within days, where before 9/11, it may have been impossible," McCain said. "How you prevent it is still the major challenge."
Also, McCain was optimistic that the immigration reform plan put forward by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight," which he is a part of, will pass the Senate.
"Its time has come," he said.
He cited a poll saying "that if you give people a path to citizenship, if they pay back taxes, learn English, pay a fine, get in line behind everybody else, the voters approve of that."
McCain said that under the "Gang of Eight" immigration proposal, "you give them a legal status in this country, but it takes 10 years, 13 years, before they could really have an opportunity to become citizens.
"They have to pay fees. They have to be employed. It's a very tough set of requirements, and I think the more people see of it, the more accepting they will be."
McCain said that when Ronald Reagan was President, "We gave amnesty to 3 million people and said that we'd secure the borders and we won't have to worry about security.
"Now we have 11 million. Well, we not only have to have secure borders, we have to have other programs.
"Forty percent of the people who came here legally came with a visa but overstayed it," he said.
"We have to have secure border, e-verify and penalties for employers who hire people who they know are in this country illegally."