Sen. John McCain wants to revive his preferred method of immigration reform when he returns to Congress after being treated for brain cancer.
Before leaving Washington for more treatment, McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic that he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about tackling immigration reform.
The two senators collaborated in 2013 on a failed effort known as the Gang of Eight that would have provided a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally.
"Immigration reform is one of the issues I'd like to see resolved," McCain told the Arizona Republic in an interview published Thursday. "I've got to talk to him (Schumer) about when would be the best time. I think there are all kinds of deals to be made out there. I really do."
McCain said earlier this week that he expects to return to Washington, D.C., as early as September.
McCain's push comes after President Trump on Wednesday endorsed an immigration proposal authored by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., that would slash legal immigration in half in the next decade, and institute a merit-based point system to determine who is allowed to reside in the country.
That proposal is expected to be rejected by Democrats, and some Republicans have also expressed opposition to the idea. McCain said he backs a merit-based immigration system in principle, but worries about harming farm labor in his state, which depends on low-skilled workers.
"I think you have to consider that we do want high-tech people, but we also need low-skilled people who will do work that Americans won't do," McCain told The Arizona Republic. "I wouldn't do it. Even in my misspent youth, I wouldn't do it."
In his days since being diagnosed with cancer, McCain, 80, has urged Congress to approach issues in a bipartisan manner. He sided with two fellow Republicans and all Democrats in opposing the GOP's "skinny repeal" plan for Obamacare.
In the interview with journalists from the Arizona Republic, McCain was reflective on his future and his health.
"I hate the use the word 'beat it,' because it's not a matter of beating [cancer]," McCain said. "You either get cured, or you don't get cured."