Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke yesterday to Latino leaders in Washington and, in answer to a question, assured them:
“Immigration reform will be my top priority because we have the obligation to address a federal issue from a federal standpoint. I will reach across the aisle again and work in a bipartisan fashion. We will resolve the immigration issue in America and we will secure our borders.”
McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, was addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). His statement seemed to indicate he will put immigration reform at the top of his agenda, above Iraq, the economy, and a variety of other issues. And while it may strike a chord with the Latino community, it’s difficult to see how it will accomplish anything positive with other American voters whose concerns lie elsewhere.
Last year McCain worked for a bipartisan immigration reform bill that failed primarily because voters insisted on border security first. A few months later McCain was saying he “gets it” and will insist on securing the border first. Now, to Latinos at least, he seems to have reverted to promoting the broader position of immigration reform. If this position didn’t pass muster with Americans before, it’s not likely to now, or next year. In the meantime, however, Latinos could help themselves by not re-igniting the debate with large public demonstrations and Mexican flag waving, demanding for illegals the rights they are not entitled to. And Congress would do well to stop talking about “comprehensive immigration reform” and instead address just “border security.” The longest journey begins with a single step; the all-or-nothing approach is more difficult, and the American public has already rejected it once.
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