McCain launching immigration effort
National campaign to push reform bill
Billy House and Mike Madden
Republic Washington Bureau
Feb. 22, 2006
WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain on Tuesday said he is launching a national campaign, not as a candidate for president but on behalf of his immigration-reform bill.
The Arizona Republican will headline a series of rallies organized by immigration advocates and immigrant-service groups beginning Thursday in Miami before moving on to New York and Los Angeles and possibly other cities. The goal: to push the Senate to approve his guest-worker proposal rather than the narrow approach focused on border security already passed by the House.
If Congress puts off immigration reform for another year, "quite frankly, it would be an abrogation of our duty," McCain said during a telephone news conference from Arizona, adding that he believes "the overwhelming majority of the American people support our proposal."
(I believe that an overwhelming majority of the American people support enforcement of existing laws and MORE security on the border)
He was referring to a bill that he and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., are sponsoring that would include a temporary-work visa and guest-worker provision and allow millions of undocumented workers already in the country to earn permanent legal status. (Naaaaaa.......thats not an amnesty)
McCain also predicted that President Bush, who has advocated a guest-worker provision since January 2004 but given Congress little specific direction, soon will become more publicly visible on the issue.
Responded White House spokesman Blair Jones: "The president has been and will continue working with Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This is a top priority for the administration."
McCain's decision to campaign nationally for passage of his immigration-reform legislation comes as the four-term senator has acknowledged he is assessing a run for the GOP nomination for president in 2008.
But although he may not technically be on the presidential stump yet, a string of coast-to-coast appearances on the high-profile issue of immigration reform will provide a soapbox sure to attract wide attention. He already has been traveling nationally in recent months, helping to raise campaign money for fellow Republicans and pushing his latest book. McCain's Political Action Committee has paid for much of his non-official Senate travel.
"It kills more than two birds with one stone," said David Mark, a Bethesda, Md.-based political analyst, of McCain's national campaign on immigration reform. "It gives him free national exposure, lots of free media on the nightly news and newspapers, while all the local media markets will also pick it (the news) up."
It also solidifies McCain's position as a national leader on a divisive issue, Mark said.
"Its not like he's been staying at home for the past six months," Charles Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter, quipped of McCain's national travel schedule. But he said immigration reform gives him yet another platform on which to make appearances across the nation.
For immigration-reform advocates, including some labor unions, business groups and churches, McCain's personal political agenda doesn't matter.
"He's the best salesperson for this approach to immigration because he's such a forceful person, because he's a border-state Republican who clearly understands these issues," said Douglas Rivlin, a spokesman for the National Immigration Forum, which is working with local groups to organize the events.
He acknowledged the rallies could help McCain's presidential campaign.
"It fits into his general framework of 'I care less about the politics than in policy that makes sense,' " Rivlin said. "I think that that's the image I have of him. That's the image he'd like voters to have of him."
Next month, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set consider how to write legislation to address the immigration issue. McCain said he expects at least two weeks of debate once a bill is moved to the entire Senate, probably in April.
What is uncertain is how different the Senate's eventual approach will be from the bill the House passed in December. The House bill, focusing on border security and tighter restrictions on immigration, does not include a temporary-work visa program for foreigners to fill jobs or any way for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country to earn permanent residency.
The McCain-Kennedy bill includes not only a guest-worker provision but also would allow undocumented workers already in the country to gain residency by registering with the government, learning English and paying fines or fees. They eventually could work toward U.S. citizenship.
Opponents call the bill an amnesty for immigrants in the United States illegally.
"He's going to run into stiff opposition," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which opposes increased immigration. "I suspect that he will also find himself the target of people who believe that what he's doing is really detrimental to the well-being of the American middle class."
FAIR has organized its own rallies against guest-worker legislation outside lawmakers' offices in Tennessee and California and may do the same in Arizona, Mehlman said. But political analyst Cook said he does not believe McCain's high-profile involvement in immigration reform is an issue that could cost potential support if he runs for president in 2008.
Other potential Republican presidential candidates also are maneuvering to win support on immigration. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., just launched a Web site called "Secure America's Borders" through his political action committee, focusing on how to stop illegal immigration. Frist says he also supports some form of a guest-worker plan.
McCain acknowledges he has had little success in the Senate in "bridging the gap" of differences with fellow GOP Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas, whose own competing, more conservative immigration-reform bill would require undocumented workers to return to their home countries.
"We believe sending them back is not only something not particularly humane but impossible," McCain said Tuesday.
"We need to have this debate and dialogue amongst the American people," he said, explaining why he has decided to stump nationally for his bill now.
McCain's appearance in Miami, at an event alongside local officials, will follow his appearance at a fund-raiser there. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., for whom McCain will raise money, also is scheduled to speak at the rally, sponsored by the New American Opportunity Campaign, an umbrella organization of immigration advocates and labor unions.
A similar event, organized by the New York Immigrant Coalition, has been set for Monday in New York City.
McCain is a worthless pro-illegal Democrat piece of shit. I despise that fuck.
I can't believe some Republicans don't realize it.
McCain = definition of RINO, I have no use for the man...
I was never one of mccain's fans
THE NEXT THING YA KNOW he will come out for gun controll !
PSSSSSSTTT : the news media will love him even more for this one !
You mean like his gun show "loophole" bill?
I bet mccain has more sense than to debate Tancredo on illegals (a rock has more sense)
Tancredo Challenges McCain Worker Program
Feb 23, 2006
(AP) WASHINGTON Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., on Thursday challenged a guest-worker program promoted by Sen. John McCain and offered to debate the Arizona Republican on immigration policy.
The challenge came as McCain prepared for a national tour to promote the guest-worker proposal. A spokeswoman for McCain was not immediately available to comment.
McCain and co-sponsor Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., have said their proposal would help employers and secure the borders by better regulating immigration. It also would help illegal workers earn legal status.
The Senate is expected to consider their bill and others this spring.
Last December, Tancredo helped pass legislation to tighten border security and prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs.
"We could present our two views of immigration reform so the American people could compare our approaches side-by-side," Tancredo wrote to McCain.
I will never vote for McCain, not even the fact I may be voting against Hillary could justify it at this point
McCain evidently likes the idea of selling his country out to cheap foreign labor and does not care a damn bit about the consequences. He can take his little bill and shove it.
McCain in 2008!