September 16th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
11 years ago

McCain: I still favor guest worker program

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona.

AYNOR, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, whose reputation among grassroots conservatives has suffered because of his support of this summer's failed immigration reform bill, said Saturday he still supports a guest-worker program as long as the borders are secured first.

"I still think that we need to have a temporary worker program that is associated with tamper-proof biometric documents, and we need to address the issue of 12 million people in this country illegally," McCain told CNN on his "No Surrender" bus after a campaign stop in Florence, South Carolina. "But first we have to secure the borders."

McCain explained how he plans to regain the trust of people who may have given up on him after the immigration debate.

"You do town hall meetings, and have people come and ask you questions, and make comments," McCain said. "Retail politics is what you do, and I have assured people that the lesson is: Americans don't trust the government, so they didn't believe we would secure the borders first."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Immigration • John McCain • South Carolina
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. LonewackoDotCom, L.A. CA

    If McCain said the sky was green, I think there's a strong possibility that CNN would simply write down his remarks without comment.

    If they wanted to do some real reporting, they would have pointed out:
    1. The word "temporary" is a lie: they'll have U.S. citizen children and it will be very difficult to deport them.
    2. Due to ACLU discrimination suits and other factors, the biometric ID will either morph into a national ID for everyone, or it will be ineffective as illegal aliens continue to use SSNs.

    There's more, but perhaps if CNN wants to be a real news source they can concentrate on just those two.

    September 15, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. alan St Louis Mo

    Desperate McCain.

    Thinks congress is unconstitutional for keeping the President in check.

    Is a Bush clone on steriods. Supports old Bush Policy on Iraq.
    wonder why he is lacking on suporters. So now hes back to this topic to try and get some support on which he failed to get passed. Which he realy does give a hoot as long as it gets him some supporters.

    September 15, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The McCain mantras:
    (1) Muslims: Fight 'em there so they don't come here.
    (2) Mexicans: Employ 'em here 'cause we can't deport 'em there.

    September 16, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  4. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    The truth is that we can't deport 15 million people no matter how much some of you may want to. So what is the logical conclustion, we give them some sort of status so we can keep track of them, tax them, and deport the ones that have committed more crimes once they are here. At the same time we seal the border so no more come in. Hmmm wait a minute this actually makes sense to do, so let's go oppose it because it's not politically correct. Thank you McCain for telling us the truth even if we don't want to hear it, this is what elected officials are supposed to do. Those of you who will not vote for him will get the government you deserve.

    September 16, 2007 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  5. Earl, Ohio

    How many times do we Americans need to yell from mountain to muntain that we DO NOT WANT a guest worker program? Just look at the polls and public outcry!

    Wake up and smell the coffee McCain! And you wonder why you're so far down in the polls?!?! You're listening to corporations and not the people!

    September 16, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Julie Seattle WA

    Most of these immigrants have committed a crime already by entering our country ILLEGALLY. Get it? ILLEGAL. If I did something illegal I would be prosecuted and maybe persecuted who knows, but to let these folks off without at least a spanking, that's wrong by everyone's standards. If they want to be here fine, do it the correct way and go through Ellis Island. The crime of illegal entry should not be brushed under the rug and ignored. It makes a complete mockery of all our laws. That crime needs to go on their records permanently, therefore they get fingerprinted, photographed, the whole gig. And if they or their children commit crimes of violence or involving drugs, then all deals are off. Furthermore, I do not believe that just because you give birth in a given country that your child should automatically be a citizen of same. It doesn't happen that way in Europe. And it is the cause of most of our immigrant issue's now. Their parents need to be citizens or have applied for citizenship and have a green card, before the child has a chance at citizenship. Personally you are all here illegally. (I am native) So with tongue in cheek 'Go Home!'

    September 16, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. LonewackoDotCom, L.A. CA

    Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma says: "The truth is that we can't deport 15 million people no matter how much some of you may want to."

    I've seen similar statements hundreds of times, and when someone says something like that it causes me to disbelieve anything else they say.

    Our choices aren't limited just to mass deportations or massive amnesty, we have other choices. One of the other choices is to enforce our laws now so that many will go home.

    Obviously, McCain won't mention such a choice for various reasons.

    September 16, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Mrs. America

    What many people fail to realize is that most of the talk is exactly that–talk. If nothing happens until the border is secure, nothing is going to happen. Second, few people would step forward on a path to citizenship because if they're working, it's most likely under a false SS number. That's a crime, and criminals don't qualify to follow the path. So, pass a law or not, the problem will persist as long as employers continue to hire the undocumented.

    September 16, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Barbara Vickroy, Escondido, CA

    Will someone please ask McCain how Mexico is able to "deport" [export?] one tenth of its population? They deny economic benefits and the folks move to the US. If we deny economic benefits to illegals they will go home. Free, no cost to us.

    September 16, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. P. Sebree

    This is a prime reason why this guy should NOT be our next president. whenever unemployment indexes drop by half then think about it. But everybody knows that won't happen. He's for big business and they want free labor or cheap labor.

    September 17, 2007 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  11. David, Omaha, NE

    For everyone pointing out how much America doesn't want a "guest worker" program, I would mention that we already have a very large guest worker program.

    It is called "TUBIA" or "The Unsecured Border Illegal Alien" guest worker program.

    What McCain is proposing is a management system. Just deporting 12 million people isn't even possible.

    With his program, we would be able to keep the good ones, the ones that work hard and follow the law, and deport the criminals.

    September 17, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Senator John McCain is unique.

    He neither understands reality nor politics.

    September 17, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Tim, Seattle WA

    For all of you 'pure' Americans out there:
    Yes, lets deport them all. Ready to go to work for minimum wage in an orchard? Ready for double digit inflation on your fruits and vegetables or even a shortage of them? Ready to put the small farmers of America out of work? Will you (or someone you know)take the job of the person you deport?? Would anybody at minimum wage rate?

    Better yet, why not just get a B-2 Bomber pilot license and go 'hunting' illegals with Lou Dobbs?
    Now eat your vegatables!

    September 17, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Patrick, San Luis Obispo, CA

    I'm a US citizen married to a woman from England. We have to wait almost a year before she can come to the US, not for citizenship, not even permanent residency, but just on a visa to apply for residency!

    It takes almost a year for the government to process the application because they are so understaffed.

    Shouldn't we make it a little easier for the people who follow the rules to enter this country before we help lawbreakers stay?

    I know they have familiaes and jobs, bot so do those are are following the rules. If we create a system for 15 million immigrants to become legal, how much more overwhelmed will USCIS be? How much longer will it take them to process applications for people following the rules? 3 years? Just look at what happened when they changed the passport rules. It took more than 3 times as long for some people to get their passports.

    Maybe if USCIS is appropriately staffed and can get through an application in a reasonable time, more people would take the legal route to immigration instead of trying to jump the fence.

    September 17, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |