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Ugly scene at McCain town hall underscores immigration reform pitfalls

Updated

After Senator John McCain fielded several angry questions at a town hall meeting Tuesday, it’s proving something of a reality check for how difficult passing immigration reform might be. Some questioners yelled about securing the border, others argued that illegal immigrants are illiterate and moving to the United States for benefits.

Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, talked about the town hall on Jansing & Co. Wednesday.

“It was an ugly scene. Sadly, there is a profound misunderstanding among this group about the life of immigrants in the United States, so it is going to be a little bit of a tough path,” Castro said. ”We’ve got to remember that 60% of the American public supports a path to earned citizenship. So when you hear an angry mob like that it’s not the majority of Americans.”

Castro says he realizes getting a bill passed is going to be difficult.

“Nobody’s ever thought that getting this through Congress was going to be a cakewalk…and so we’ve expected some of that.  For Republicans, obviously it’s tougher because that group tends to be in their party,” he said.

The President called three Republican Senators Tuesday, Sens. Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, to talk about immigration.

Castro says, “The President is serious about working in a bipartisan way to get comprehensive immigration reform done. He does want to be a leader on this but also that he respects the role of the Congress and specifically those Republicans who have gone out on a limb a bit, to try to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality.”

A new coalition of groups plans to hold rallies and run ads to push the issue, The New York Times reported. 

Castro believes it will help.  “This issue has galvanized and strengthened a lot of different groups—not only the traditonal democratic groups but you also have the faith, evangelical community and the business community, like the Chamber of Commerce, which is mostly Republican, coming together with Democratic groups.”

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Ugly scene at McCain town hall underscores immigration reform pitfalls

Updated