DNC - McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and Immigration Reform

Washington, DC-John McCain claims he can be trusted on immigration reform and believes that our current immigration system illustrates "an ailing Washington culture in need of reform to regain the trust of Americans." But the reality is on immigration it's hard to know where Senator McCain really stands. McCain's record on immigration reform has been anything but consistent during the course of his campaign. Not only is McCain trying to have it both ways, calling for enforcement first and comprehensive immigration reform at the same time, he acknowledged he would not vote for the very immigration bill that he had cosponsored in the past. [johnmccain.com, accessed 6/17/08]

John McCain's backtracking on immigration reform may have saved him in the Republican primary, but it won't help with voters who want a candidate they can trust. Maybe that's why McCain has not gained support among Hispanics, among whom a Gallup summary of polls show Senator McCain trailing Barack Obama 29 to 62 percent. [Los Angeles Times, 6/6/08]


2006: McCain Championed The McCain-Kennedy Earned Legalization Immigration Bill. McCain campaigned for the McCain-Kennedy bill which was described by as "the most generous of the bills now before Congress." The legislation "would legalize as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants" and "grant temporary work permits to illegal immigrants and then after waiting six years and paying a $2,000 fine, it would enable them to apply for green cards." [Miami Herald, 2/24/06]

2008: McCain Said He Would Oppose the Legislation He Authored With Kennedy. Asked whether he would vote for the immigration legislation he previously sponsored, McCain eventually replied, "No, I would not." [CNN GOP Presidential Debate, 1/30/08]

2006: McCain Said an "Enforcement First" Strategy Focusing Only on Border Security is an "Ineffective And Ill-Advised Approach." "In April [2006], the Senate overwhelmingly passed, in a bipartisan fashion, a comprehensive immigration reform package designed to secure our borders as well as address the economic need for workers in our Nation. In passing this legislation, the Senate rejected the argument for an 'enforcement first' strategy that focuses on border security only, an ineffective and ill-advised approach. Congress cannot take a piecemeal approach to a national security crisis. I believe the only way to truly secure our border and protect our Nation is through the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform. As long as there is a need for workers in the United States and people are willing to cross the desert to make a better life for their families, our border will never be secure." [McCain, Congressional Record, 9/29/06]

2007: Presidential Candidate McCain Touts Securing The Border First. In 2008, McCain said, "And our proposal has got to be securing the borders first. The American people have no trust or confidence in us that we would secure the borders." In November 2007, McCain argued, "I want to assure you that I'll enforce the borders first." [CNN Larry King Live, 2/14/08; CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential Debate, 11/28/07]