LA Times noted McCain touts his work on immigration bill as appealing to Latinos -- but not that he no longer supports it

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In an article about Sen. John McCain's general election strategy, the Los Angeles Times reported that McCain's advisers "believe his work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation's illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State." But McCain no longer supports the "controversial immigration legislation" attributed to him -- he now says that "we've got to secure the borders first," and that he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor.

In a March 5 article about Sen. John McCain's general election strategy, the Los Angeles Times reported that, in "recent days, McCain has frequently emphasized that he will try to win California" and his advisers "believe his work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation's illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State." But the article, by staff writer Maeve Reston, did not mention the fact that McCain no longer supports "the controversial immigration legislation" (the so-called "McCain-Kennedy" bill) -- McCain now says that border security must be addressed before any other reforms can be made, and has said he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor.

While McCain once supported "controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship," he has since reversed his position, now asserting that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Indeed, during CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain asserted that he "would not" support his own comprehensive immigration proposal that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.

McCain also reversed his position on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would have allowed "illegal immigrants under age 30 to remain in the United States and gain legal status if they attend college or join the military." After co-sponsoring earlier versions of the bill, McCain said he opposed a version of the legislation that was defeated in October 2007 -- though McCain did not cast a vote. While McCain co-sponsored several versions of the DREAM Act in 2003, 2005, and early 2007, he opposed a version of the act (S. 2205) in October 2007. McCain, who skipped the vote on S. 2205 despite having voted an hour earlier on a judicial nomination, was not a co-sponsor of the measure, which was introduced on October 18, 2007. According to an article at InsideHigherEd.com, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), said that S. 2205 was largely similar to previous versions of the DREAM Act but "would not repeal a 1996 federal law interpreted by many as prohibiting the extension of in-state tuition benefits to undocumented students." Still, the difference did not appear to be a reason why McCain would not have voted for the bill. Indeed, in a November 2, 2007, article, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, quoted McCain saying of the latest version of the DREAM ACT: "I think it has certain virtues associated with it. ... And I think other things have virtues associated with it. But the message is they want the borders secured first." The article also quoted McCain as saying: "I will vote against anything until we secure the borders."

From the March 5 Los Angeles Times article:

Before his victory Tuesday night, McCain told reporters it was time to broaden the campaign beyond the narrow scope of the Republican primaries. "We will contest every constituency in America -- whether they be workers; whether they be Hispanic, whether they be African American -- we're competing for their vote."

In recent days, McCain has frequently emphasized that he will try to win California. His advisors believe his work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation's illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State.

During a stop in San Antonio on Tuesday morning, McCain disputed a reporter's suggestion that Democrats would have an advantage with Latino voters this fall. He said his advocacy for free trade, equal opportunity and small-business initiatives, as well as his strong anti-abortion record, was "in keeping with the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the Hispanic community."

"I intend to do very well, and I know we are doing very well," he said.

Posted In
Immigration, Immigration Reform
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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