Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the “Gang of Eight” that helped write and pass the immigration reform bill in that chamber, said he did not know how many passports a person could forge under the proposed law before being charged with a crime.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a reporter asked McCain, “Senator McCain, can I ask you a question about the Senate immigration bill? Under the bill, how many passports can someone forge before it becomes a crime?”
McCain said, “You’re going to have to ask our folks that, I don't think that we stand for any forgeries."
The reporter followed-up, “Can you tell me why that would be part of the bill in the first place?”
McCain answered, “ I cannot tell you that it is part of the bill."
In the legislation that passed in the Senate, Section 1541 "Trafficking in Passports," it explains in detail that a person can be charged for a crime if they forge "3 or more passports," meaning that they potentially would not be charged if they falsely made only one or two passports. The criminal charges and penalties do not kick in until after "3 or more passports" are falsely made, issued, or transferred, etcetera.
As the legislation states, “any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly – (1) and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; (2) forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes 3 or more passports; (3) secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or (4) completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs, or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
The immigration reform bill passed in the Senate on June 27 with a 68-32 vote. All 52 Democrats, 2 independents, and 14 Republican senators voted in favor of the legislation, including Sens. McCain, Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Chisea (N.J.), Susan Collins (Me.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).