Via the Free Beacon, either this is smoking-gun proof that he’s running again for Senate in 2016 and worried about a primary (he said this to a news outlet in Phoenix, do note) or…

I can’t think of another possibility. McCain 2016!

“We should tell these countries in Central America that no more aid, no more assistance, no nothing until they stop this from happening,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told KFYI radio in Phoenix…

“And tell our friends in Mexico to secure their border, their Southern border as well as their Northern border, and no comprehensive immigration reform until we get our border secured. It’s unacceptable,” McCain continued. “It’s a human tragedy, and when they encourage people to come up through Mexico … they are subjecting these young people, and primarily young women to the worst kinds of abuse.”

McCain said he had heard from Customs and Border Protection that there were signs in recent months that the unaccompanied migrant crisis was approaching, but he did not know whether President Barack Obama had been briefed.

“He sure as heck should have, should have been informed and he should have known that this is coming,” McCain said. “It is one of the most, frankly, disappointing things for me personally because as you know, I’ve been for comprehensive immigration reform. You can’t do that unless you have secure borders.”

Why is he floating this idea only now, 11 million illegals later? If I were a cynic, I’d think that he wasn’t concerned about the flow of illegal immigration so much as he’s concerned about the politics of trying to do comprehensive reform when the papers are full of stories about kids from Central America being bused around the country because the BP can’t handle the crush. I’ve been waiting for signs of that from Republicans, just as a gauge of how far this recent surge at the border has penetrated public awareness. If Maverick’s talking about cutting aid to Mexico and Central American nations, he must have seen some data somewhere that suggests backing the Gang of Eight bill is even more poisonous on the right than it used to be. I’d love to know what that data is. Gotta be more than just Dave Brat upsetting Cantor, no?

Here’s a radical idea: If McCain’s worried about border security to the point where he’s all but accusing Obama of knowingly allowing the recent influx of young illegals to happen, why not drop comprehensive reform and shift to a “security first” approach? I know that would pain a true blue amnesty fan like him but it’d be a nice pander to conservatives ahead of his next Senate run. He could do a big speech in Washington — “I no longer have confidence in the commander-in-chief to enforce our borders” — and formally pull his support from the Gang of Eight bill. Then, if/when the flow at the border slows down, he can declare victory, proclaim comprehensive reform back on track, and re-join the Gang. The White House might even play ball with him on that, since they want to spotlight Obama being “tough” on recent illegals. Just today, Josh Earnest told the media that most of the illegal minors who came here this year will be deported, which is an egregious lie but a useful one in reassuring voters who aren’t following this issue closely that the White House is super cereal about removing illegals. It may be true that most young illegals will have deportation orders entered against them by immigration judges, but they’re not going to show up for their hearings now that they’ve been released to an adult’s custody in the U.S. You can deport them if you can find them, and you won’t find them. And then, eventually, either Obama or Hillary or even some Republican president will be looking for a way to pander to Latino voters and so he/she will issue a new executive order effectively granting amnesty to all the kids subject to deportations, and that’ll be that.

Here’s a little stroll down memory lane to 2010, the last time McCain was a hard-ass on immigration. And, coincidentally, the last time he was up for reelection. Any other Republican “border hawks” willing to join him in this call to cut aid to nations responsible for the big illegal surge? If ever there was an issue where he and Rand Paul could work together, this is it.