John McCain Blames AZ Wildfires on Mexican Immigrants

 Arizona is presently wracked with wildfires, which the state Forest Service generally believes to be started by humans. Though there's no way of ever knowing which humans started them, or how, Senator John McCain took the opportunity to blame Mexican immigrants (obviously!). During a news conference, when a reporter asked him about the fires, he responded:

First of all we are concerned particularly about areas down on the border where there is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally. They have set fires because they want to signal others; they have set fires to keep warm; and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them. So the answer to that part of the problem is: get a secure border.

One wonders what said "substantial" evidence pointing to said immigrants was. Did they turn themselves in? Was it buried deep in the Wikipedia cables? Were the fires demarcated by tiny Mexican flags?

Salon called McCain's office to ask, and apparently it was none of the above. His spokesperson, Brooke Buchanan, responded that he "was given the information by a Forest Service official during his visit to the Wallow fire damaged area on Saturday." And yet!:

A spokesman for the agencies fighting the Wallow fire, however, told ABC that while the fire is believed to be human-caused, he knows of "no evidence" that illegal immigrants were involved.

Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, blamed McCain's comments not on Mexican immigrants but on "political opportunism." He told CNN, "The degree of irresponsible political pandering by Sen. McCain has no limits. With the lack of evidence, he might as well also blame aliens from outer space for the fires." Which would be complicated, because then he'd also have to advocate securing our skies. 

Read more at Salon.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 20, 2011, 3:47am

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