A study by Congress’ investigative arm shows investigators have linked 30 fires that erupted in a five-year period in Arizona’s border region to people who crossed into the United States illegally–a finding Sen. John McCain says backs up earlier statements he made about illegal immigrants and wildfires.
McCain said this year that fires are sometimes caused by illegal border crossers, but did not specify to which fires he was referring as blazes scorched the southern and eastern parts of the state. The statements quickly drew criticism from activists who jumped on him for “scapegoating.”
McCain and fellow Republicans framed the debate over his statements as a distraction.
“I hope this report is a lesson to the activists and public officials that would prefer to engage in partisan character attacks rather than focus the discussion on the vital need to secure our southern border,” McCain said Tuesday.