LA Times touts McCain as a "key Republican" in immigration debate, but ignores campaign flip-flop

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

The Los Angeles Times dubbed Sen. John McCain a "key Republican[]" in the immigration debate, but ignored his flip-flop on immigration during the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a March 27 article, the Los Angeles Times called Sen. John McCain a "key Republican[]" in the immigration debate who immigration reform advocates risk "turn[ing] off" with a new legislative proposal. The Times reported that, in the past, McCain "has crafted his own compromise plan for legalization" and later stated that "[a]ny new legalization plan is likely to look similar in some respects to the bill crafted by McCain and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), which stalled most recently in 2007. Opponents had decried the measure as 'amnesty,' but it would have required undocumented workers to pay a fine and back taxes and to wait longer than other applicants for permanent residency status." However, the article ignored McCain's flip-flop on immigration during the 2008 presidential campaign. As a candidate, McCain said he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor and argued that border security must be addressed before any other reforms can be made.

During CNN's January 30, 2008, Republican presidential debate, McCain asserted 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. During the same debate, McCain said 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.

As Media Matters for America has noted, news outlets, including the Times, repeatedly touted McCain as a leader on immigration during the campaign without noting his reversal.

From the March 27 Los Angeles Times article by staff writer Peter Wallsten:

With their prospects in Congress sinking along with the economy, liberal advocates of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship are launching a risky strategy to push lawmakers and the White House to take up their cause.

They are devising a proposal in which millions of undocumented workers would be legalized now, while the number of foreign workers allowed to enter the country would be examined by a new independent commission, and probably reduced.

It is a calculation designed to win a new and powerful ally, organized labor, which favors a limit on foreign worker visas. But it risks alienating businesses that rely on temporary workers and could turn off key Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who in the past has crafted his own compromise plan for legalization.

[...]

Any new legalization plan is likely to look similar in some respects to the bill crafted by McCain and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), which stalled most recently in 2007. Opponents had decried the measure as "amnesty," but it would have required undocumented workers to pay a fine and back taxes and to wait longer than other applicants for permanent residency status.

The new proposal, as laid out by several participants in the behind-the-scenes negotiations, would also create an independent commission that would assess labor and industry data to decide how many foreign workers should be allowed into the country. The system, designed by Ray Marshall, a Labor secretary under President Carter, would replace a maze of special temporary worker visas that are granted each year to high-tech specialists, agriculture workers and other foreigners brought into the U.S. by foreign and domestic firms.

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