USA Today ignores inconsistency in McCain immigration positions

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

A USA Today article stated that Sen. John McCain "has been criticized for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he has said he would focus on sealing the borders before taking up any other measures," falsely suggesting that McCain's current proposal to secure the borders first is consistent with his prior support for comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in legislation on comprehensive immigration reform, or else it would be ineffective.

In a February 13 USA Today article, reporter David Jackson wrote that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "has been criticized for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he has said he would focus on sealing the borders before taking up any other measures." In doing so, the article falsely suggested that McCain's current proposal to secure the borders first is consistent with his prior support for comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in legislation on comprehensive immigration reform, or else it would be ineffective.

In a March 30, 2006, Senate floor statement, McCain said: "While strengthening border security is an essential component of national security, it must also be accompanied by immigration reforms." He added: "[A]s long as there are jobs available in this country for people who live in poverty and hopelessness in other countries, those people will risk their lives to cross our borders -- no matter how formidable the barriers -- and most will be successful." Asserting that "[o]ur reforms need to reflect that reality," McCain said, "We need to establish a temporary worker program that permits workers from other countries -- to the extent they are needed -- to fill jobs that would otherwise go unfilled."

From the February 13 USA Today article:

Before Tuesday's races, an Associated Press count gave McCain 729 delegates to 241 for Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor would have to win more than 80% of the remaining delegates to capture the nomination, and that assumes none of Mitt Romney's 288 delegates votes for McCain.

Despite his losses, Huckabee said it would be a disservice to voters who haven't had a chance to vote yet if he dropped out of the race. "So we march on," he said.

Whether Huckabee can win, though, isn't the point, some of his conservative supporters say.

James McDonald, a retired lawyer from Fairfax County, Va., said he voted for Huckabee not so much to support him, but "to keep this thing going so we can eventually convince (McCain) to drop his amnesty plan."

McCain has been criticized for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he has said he would focus on sealing the borders before taking up any other measures.

At his election-night headquarters, more than 100 supporters watched warily as the results came in and erupted in cheers when CNN called the Virginia race for McCain.

Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the conservative think tank Free Congress Foundation, called McCain's victory "unfortunate" because it takes some of the pressure off the Arizona senator.

"If he's wise, he will listen to conservatives," Weyrich said. "I'll believe it when I see it."

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