But setting that aside, I invite the president to come -- Jon Kyl and I invite the president to come to the Arizona-Sonora border. The violence is incredibly high. The human smuggling and drug cartels are at a level of violence where 25,000 -- 23,000 Mexican citizens have been murdered in the last few years, 5,000 already this year. There's a level of violence which has increased to a significant degree, which makes the situation far different than it was in 2007.
We have to secure our borders. When the -- when the -- when our government has to put up signs in the southern part of our state that warns people that they are in a human smuggling and drug smuggling area and they have to be careful and are warned, then our border is not secure and our citizens are not safe.
We can get the border secure. Jon Kyl and I have a 10-point plan. We can get it secure, and then we can move on with comprehensive immigration reform.
But I invite the president to come to the border, and he can see for himself the absolute necessity of getting our border secure before more violence spills over onto our side of the border, as this existential struggle takes place between the Mexican government and the drug cartels and the human smugglers, who are now working hand in glove.
TAPPER: I only have a couple more questions, Senator. I know your time is valuable. Just to follow up on that, in 2007, you were quoted as follows by Vanity Fair. "McCain had been asked how debate over the immigration bill was playing politically. 'In the short term, it probably galvanizes our base,' he said, 'In the long term, if you alienate the Hispanics, you'll pay a heavy price.' Then he added, unable to help himself, 'By the way, I think the fence is least effective, but I'll build the goddamned fence if they want it.'"
You've long been critical of then-Senator Obama for pandering to unions during the 2007 immigration reform debate. You just talked about it a second ago. And -- and you're right. He did vote for amendments that threatened to unravel the coalition.
But how is what you're doing now any different, except you're pandering to the other side?
MCCAIN: Because, as I said before, the level of violence on the border, the human smuggling, the fact that Phoenix, Arizona, is the number-two kidnapping capital of the world, according to media reports, the fact that a recent -- a ring recently was broken up that brought people across our border to Phoenix, Arizona, where people were -- drugs were distributed all over the country, as well as people, means that the situation has changed dramatically.
That's why I asked the president to come to the border. It is not the same as it was in 2007. And the people deserve not to have our ranchers murdered, not to have a deputy shot by a drug smuggler with an AK-47 in Pinal County. The situation has dramatically changed, and the statistics absolutely back that up.
TAPPER: All right. Finally, Senator, Senator Republican Leader Mitch McConnell just announced in the last few days that he will vote against Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination, if her nomination does get to the floor of the Senate. Have you made a decision about how you will vote?
MCCAIN: Not quite, but I intend to decide this coming week, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Senator John McCain, thanks so much. Safe travels, and thanks for joining us.