McCain Surprised at Criticism for His Wildfire Remarks
June 22, 2011, 07:15 PM
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It was amusing that newly minted border defender (for his 2010 re-election campaign) Senator John McCain angered his old pals in La Raza by telling the truth about the spate of border-area wildfires in Arizona that some were started by illegal aliens and Mexican drug smugglers.

Heres Sheriff Larry Dever saying that he estimated the Monument fire was started by aliens or smugglers, 90 to 100 percent.

The Raza-bots must be getting bewitched by their own press releases if they think they can erase veracity entirely regarding border crime by just denying it. DHS Secretary Napolitano bleats that The border is as secure as it has ever been and shazam she imagines the problem is solved. Similarly, any unpleasantries about chaos and murder can be squashed by the usual accusations of racism and xenophobia.

Johnny claimed he didnt understand what the controversy was about, given the well documented facts about diverse arsonists, but he shouldnt be surprised. The open-borders gang sees him as one of them because he promised to work for mass amnesty starting the first day of his Presidency, and they are miffed he didnt hop immediately back on to the reservation after his re-election as Senator. But they arent listening closely: McCain has long made clear that he wants border security as a necessary precursor for a comprehensive amnesty rewarding millions of lawbreakers.

John McCain Baffled by Controversy Over Wildfire, Illegal Immigrants Comments, ABC News, June 21, 2011

Sen. John McCain said today that hes not sure what all this controversy is about surrounding his unsubstantiated claim that illegal immigrants caused some of the wildfires raging across eastern Arizona.

Cochise Co. Sheriff Larry Dever will tell you that the Monument Fire was started when the park, the forest was closed. So anyone who was in there is illegal, McCain said in an interview on Good Morning America.

McCain also said that his assessment that there is substantial evidence illegal immigrants are responsible for some of these fires was based on a briefing Saturday from a U.S. Forest Service official familiar with the investigation of the fires.

This is the toughest year in Arizonas history as far as fires are concerned, McCain said. The fact is that as far back as 2006 the Forest Service testified before Congress, and I quote, Large numbers of warming and cooking fires built and abandoned by cross border violators have caused wildfires that have destroyed valuable natural and cultural resources.

But a spokesman for the agency said Monday that while the latest wildfires appear to be human caused there is no evidence that the suspects may have been illegal immigrants.

Immigrant advocates and civil rights groups have accused McCain of politicizing the fires at a time when people are losing their homes and struggling to cope with widespread evacuations.

The sad thing is that the intention was pretty clear, said Clarissa Martinez with the National Council of La Raza. It was to demonize immigrants and demonize Latinos.

Randy Parraz, a civil rights advocate who ran unsuccessfully against McCain as a Democratic candidate in 2010, was quick to criticize McCains comments, calling them careless and reckless.

Its easier to fan the flames of intolerance, especially in Arizona, Parraz said.

McCain insists the issue of immigrant involvement in the fires was first raised by a questioner during a press conference Saturday, and that he responded with information provided to him by Forest Service officials.

This is an old issue, McCain said in an interview Monday. The Forest Service testified in 2006 before Congress that there were fires that were set by illegal immigrants. And the issue has been there ever since its well known this is a significant problem.

I regret it if some group or individual wants to insert another issue into this debate, he said. Im so proud of the work thats being done and obviously some of the problem has been caused by fires set by illegal immigrants and we ought to address it just as we have requested a couple months ago, six members of the Senate, for an investigation by the Government Accountability Office.

Forest Service spokesman Tom Berglund said there is no evidence that one of the ongoing fires the so-called Wallow Fire were started by illegal immigrants. Subjects of interest have been spoken to, but as of now, no suspect has been named, he said.