The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

82° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Storm Tracker

Republican Sen. John McCain has ignited a political backlash of massive proportions with his incendiary remarks regarding illegal immigrants. This past Saturday, following a tour of the area affected by the Wallow Fire, McCain attended a news conference in Springerville. There, he said, “”There is substantial evidence that some of these fires were caused by people who have crossed our borders illegally.””

According to the Arizona Republic, McCain has since insisted that he never suggested illegal immigrants created the Wallow Fire, located far from the U.S.-Mexico border. ””I said ‘some of the fires'”” McCain clarified.  When asked to give specifics, McCain fired back “”all kinds”” but added, “”I can’t give you names.””

Democrats, like Rep. Raul Grijalva, have capitalized on these remarks and some have come forward to make statements. McCain has responded to the cries of Democrats by saying, “”I thought everybody knew that (illegal immigrants starting fires) was a problem.”” McCain has also had some fiery words for his Democratic counterparts, adding that he is disappointed that some people would try to politicize the wildfires and try to push a political agenda.

Unfortunately, McCain is doing exactly that.

In the words of Grijalva, “”every misfortune is blamed on undocumented immigrants.”” To an extent, this much is true. Illegal immigrants are becoming a scapegoat in every sense of the word. If this keeps up, expect illegal immigrants to be blamed for all of the following: sub-prime mortgage loans, poor gas mileage, oil spills in the gulf, Ponzi schemes, menstrual cramps, depreciating home values, runny noses, bunions, headaches, traffic jams, bank account overdraft fees and smog.

In the interest of being a rational thinker, according to the U.S. Forest Service, lightning has been ruled out as a cause of the fires in Southern Arizona. Additionally, Lead Ranger at the Coronado National Forest Bill Edwards concluded that the fire was caused by humans. Alternatively though, Edwards included that four past Arizona fires, all of which occurred in areas known for immigrant and drug smuggling, were the cause of bona fide Arizona citizens.

Although McCain insists that there is a history and possibility of illegal immigrants starting fires for warmth, signaling purposes and as diversion acts, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said that there is no evidence of this.  It’s also interesting to note that McCain was not the first to coin the notion of illegal immigrants starting the blazes. On June 1, The New York Times reported on Southern Arizona residents spouting their beliefs that illegal immigrants started the fires. In that respect, McCain is not pioneer of this thought process.  At least the positive of all of this is that McCain is responding and echoing his constituents and for that, some credit is due.

Nonetheless, these turbulent comments are sure to cause an updraft of rage. Expect a thunderous downpour of fury that leaves all means of media scorched with great and furious anger.

Forecast: Thunderous downpours of fury

Storm Byrd is the Summer Wildcat perspectives editor. He can be contacted at

More to Discover
Activate Search