McCain says amendments could sink immigration reform

Washington, May 8 (EFE).- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), part of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" who drafted an immigration reform bill, warned Wednesday that the measure could fail if too many amendments are added.

In a speech at the 43rd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Council of the Americas, McCain said he was "guardedly optimistic" with regard to the bill's chances for passage in the Senate.

He added, however, that "compromises were made" to produce a comprehensive proposal, "and if there are efforts made to destroy that delicate compromise then it could fall apart."

Of the 301 amendments presented on Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, McCain said that he will not support at least two of them that seek to regularize the situation of immigrants involved in same-sex marriages with U.S. citizens.

Those amendments, presented by committee chair Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, "are not needed" in the immigration law, McCain said, vowing to do everything possible to make sure they are not part of the final bill.

Two other Republican members of the Gang of Eight, Florida's Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have already said that they will reject the Leahy amendments.

Other amendments give Congress more authority regarding security along the border with Mexico, demand that undocumented immigrants provide DNA samples before they can obtain legal status and reduce the number of undocumented workers eligible to obtain citizenship.

McCain emphasized in his speech that a "majority" of Americans support the idea of providing a road to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented foreigners who are estimated to live in this country.