USA Today described McCain's immigration reversal simply as McCain "placing more of an emphasis on border security"

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

In an article about appearances by Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama at the LULAC conference, USA Today reported that McCain "began placing more of an emphasis on border security during the primaries." But McCain's current position "to secure the borders first" is not just a change of "emphasis"; it is at odds with his prior position that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.

In a July 8 article about appearances by Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama at the national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), USA Today reported that McCain "had been a leading advocate last year of a plan to expand programs for 'guest workers,' but he began placing more of an emphasis on border security during the primaries." In fact, McCain's current position -- that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- is not just a change of "emphasis"; it is at odds with his prior position that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Moreover, the article did not mention that, during a January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain stated that he would not vote for the immigration bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.

The article, by staff writer David Jackson, later quoted Obama saying of McCain: "We need a president who isn't going to walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform when it becomes politically unpopular." But Jackson did not include the portion of Obama's statement in which Obama noted that McCain "said that he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote." From Obama's speech at the LULAC convention:

OBAMA: Now, I know Senator McCain had a chance to speak to you earlier, and I want to give Senator McCain credit because he used to buck his party on immigration. He fought for comprehensive immigration reform. On one of the bills that I co-sponsored, he was the lead. I admired him for it. But when he started running for his party's nomination, he abandoned his courageous stance and said that he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote.

Well, for eight long years, we've had a president who's made all kinds of promises to Latinos on the campaign trail, but failed to live up to them in the White House, and we can't afford that anymore. We need a president who isn't going to walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform when it becomes politically unpopular.

Media Matters for America has documented previous instances in which USA Today ignored McCain's immigration reversal.

From Jackson's July 8 USA Today article:

"Hispanics have been projecting their demographics into political strength," said Janet Murguia, La Raza president and CEO, about the nation's fastest-growing group.

She said they also want "further clarification" from McCain on his stand on immigration. The presumptive Republican nominee had been a leading advocate last year of a plan to expand programs for "guest workers," but he began placing more of an emphasis on border security during the primaries.

On economics, McCain said the nation's 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses will benefit from lower taxes and less government regulation. His proposals include doubling the child deduction and a $5,000 tax credit for the costs of health insurance.

"If you believe you should pay more taxes, I am the wrong candidate for you," McCain said Tuesday.

Obama said he wants tax cuts for "workers and small-business owners." He criticized McCain's plan as providing "tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans."

The candidates also renewed their immigration debate. McCain and Obama both support tougher border security, more guest-worker programs and a path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the USA.

Obama, however, repeated his criticism that McCain has backed away from that comprehensive approach. "We need a president who isn't going to walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform when it becomes politically unpopular," the presumptive Democratic nominee said.

Two hours earlier, McCain launched a pre-emptive defense to Obama's criticism, saying he was unable to get approval for a broad immigration overhaul because too many Americans "did not believe us when we said we would secure our borders."

Posted In
Immigration, Immigration Reform
Network/Outlet
USA Today
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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