July 14th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain reassures Latinos on immigration

McCain will defend his immigration record, attack Obama’s later Monday.

McCain will defend his immigration record, attack Obama’s later Monday.

PHOENIX (CNN) – John McCain told the National Council of La Raza on Monday that he is and always has been committed to comprehensive immigration reform.

McCain is defending his record amidst criticism from Barack Obama, who has asserted in recent speeches to Hispanic groups that the presumptive Republican nominee backed away from his support for immigration reform when it became a political liability in the Republican primaries.

Election Center: Where the candidates stand on immigration

Obama told the NCLR on Sunday that McCain “abandoned his courageous stance” on immigration during his presidential run, a charge McCain plans to push back against today in San Diego.

“I feel I must, as they say, correct the record,” said McCain. “At a moment of great difficulty in my campaign, when my critics said it would be political suicide for me to do so, I helped author with Senator Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform, and fought for its passage.

“I took my lumps for it without complaint. My campaign was written off as a lost cause. I did so not just because I believed it was the right thing to do for Hispanic Americans. It was the right thing to do for all Americans.”

Conservatives blasted the McCain-Kennedy bill. McCain later decided he would not support the legislation, which failed to become law, until the country's southern border is secured.

McCain argued that Obama, in fact, helped defeat the McCain-Kennedy immigration by voting for “amendments that were intended to kill the legislation.”

“I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it,” he said. “I think I have earned that trust.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. E.C.Coleman

    The United States doesn't need any more legal or illegal aliens. We are up to our eye balls in people who don't belong in this country.
    If anything, the U.S. Congress should be writing and legislating NEW COMPREHENSIVE DEPORTATION LAWS that wil provide Reform for this country....NOT Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

    July 14, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. EMJ

    Many, Many, MANY sick immature weirdos posting their anti-Barack Obama comments. Hmm, make fun of his name or put his middle name in all caps. Very mature. People STILL talking today about Hillary Clinton. Come on, get over it already. She lost and any democrat that believes that PUMA crude is am immature sore loser.

    What I'd like to know is where the heck is the vetting of John McCain?
    Why isn't anyone reporting smear rumors about his religion, his patriotism, his record, and other rumors I have heard?


    July 14, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. bridgette

    As an American citizen I am offended by he and Obama on this whole immigration issue. Stop trying too stop to appease these non-citizens and focus on the actual American citizens.

    July 14, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Roger from CA

    The thing that bugs me is that the mainstream media just WON'T call a spade a spade when it comes to an obviously pander. McCain ran SCREAMING away from his OWN legislation when it was hurting him in the Repub primaries, but now that the general election campaign is underway, he suddenly wants to go back??

    Plus, he is trying to have it both ways: "security first" when his audience is a bunch of old, white folks, and some nuanced mish-mash of immigration reform and a dash of small-businessman appeal when talking to Latinos. It is one thing to change positions and/or have it evolve, but you can't keep going back and forth within a few days, with the only determinant being the ethnicity in the room.

    Mainstream media: You DO have a responsibility to help us non-professional news analysts (i.e., the general public) see through spin and obfuscation. And you also have the responsibility to give full play to stories like Phil Gramm's comment last week without giving in to the fear that the Right will paint you as liberally biased!

    July 14, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Hope

    This old guy is going to say anything to win...Tomorrow he will argue he never did...
    Please excuse him if he forget what he said today...Age problem

    July 14, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |

    Mike, Syracuse NY-

    Please address the fact that Senator McCain DRAFTED THE IMMIGRATION BILL..............



    Please, no spinning about what Obama said or did..... Just please address ONE OF THE BIGGEST FLIP-FLOP's in history.... by YOUR guy.

    July 14, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Car



    July 14, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Marc PDX

    What's Obama's position? He doesn't have one. He'll wait to hear McCain's then come out opposed to it. Then take heat for the gaffes. Then "refine" his position. Same as he did with HRC. He doesn't have the experience to know what his position is yet.


    July 14, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Nick

    McBush is a girly man according to Arnold.

    July 14, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Peter (CA)

    But flip-flopping is only bad when it can be pinned on the Democratic candidate, right?

    McCain has dropped himself into the pit with the right-wing whack jobs by taking his stands and tossing them into the wind in order to get the backing of Rush, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter.

    Wow, what a prize!

    July 14, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. G

    What a Flip Flopper Mccain has turn out to be on every important issue including immigration. He drafted the immigration and because it wasn't politically convient he voted against HIS OWN BILL. Yet the media spends a whole talking about Obama NON FLIP FLOP ON IRAQ. Wow great journalism or just lazy sorry guys but step it up!

    July 14, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Kara

    Can someone explain to me what is White or Black for that matter. Is it that i'm white when my pigmentation is very light and i have blonde hair and blue eyes even when i was born in Columbia or what about my bother who is dark tan with curly hair and brown eyes also from Columbia. we both share the same mother and father. The reason i ask is there seems to be a conversation (issue) Here in the USA. about the color of your skin or is it more of an European thing of who is white.

    July 14, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Stephen H

    To: Brandon Hillary PUMA for Mc Cain-Pa, Mike from Syracuse NY, and Marie in California

    You idiots could not possibly be defending McCain on this topic, or are you all that stupid? What kind of candidate votes against his own legislation? Actually, knowing each of your posting histories, this is yet another opportunity for you morons to bash Obama. Get over Hillary and yourselves will ya. The rest of the country is moving on and you are stuck in the past still hoping for something that's not going to happen.

    BTW, where were you guys and the other staunch Hillary supporters when the topic came up when about Hillary asking for money to pay down the debt she incurred from the primaries? As usual, crickets chirping........

    July 14, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. wycliffe, NJ

    Old fool. I voted for you because you were anti-immigration. Tell me whats going on, I will surely stay home.

    July 14, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Tejano

    The bottom line is this: No matter who wins the presidency, there will be an immigration reform bill before congress. The real issue is then what kind of immigration bill gets through the congress and is signed by the president.
    Those who ignore the fact that we need to reform the process and also allow for documenting those who are here illegally are just playing politics with the issue.

    Immigration is being ignored by Congress (Democrats) because it will cause them to lose Congressional seats. No one wants to touch this hot potato.

    Those of us in Arizona who know Senator McCain and his support of the Hispanic (Mexican) community will vote for McCain no matter what position he takes on this issue. We will never vote for Obama even if he promised to allow all of Mexico to move North.

    So go for it McCain and bring the bill up before the election. Let's see what the Democrats are really supporting.

    July 14, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Helene

    McSame flip-flops once again. That man is pitiful.

    July 14, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Both sides will push for an 'amnesty' path to 'combat' the level of illegal immigration!! Up here in Canada, the government has followed this lunacy for years!! It is amazing how the numbers of 'illegals' change when the goalposts are being continuously moved!!!

    July 14, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Tom

    Congratulations Mccain, you just lost my vote and millions of others. Why are these candidates brown-nosing for the latino vote so much? Are they planning to find a way for illegal immigrants to vote or something? The fact is that illegal immigration is draining our economy in a big way and is an absolute scourge. Use the front door please, when intruders sneak in through the back door they aren't welcome and should be repelled by force.

    July 14, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Oregon calling

    Didn't Carly Fiorini run Hewlett Packard to the ground and Lucent to the ground before that? Yet McCain has her running his campaign!

    yep and it played havoc here in Oregon for some time. Oh, please forgive me for "Whining"

    Obama / 08

    July 14, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Pedro

    McSame is a joke. He doesn't care for Latinos. He is pandering like always.

    Latinos for Obama!

    July 14, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. andy

    how many times do I have to say it Im Latino and we do not want Obama ! plain and simply ask my friends , my mom sisters and brothers they will all say the same thing ! Latinos for McCain or if Hillary was in it would be her!

    July 14, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Allan

    McCain and Obama spoke at the convention center in San Diego CA.

    That city was Spanish, then Mexican, and finally became US when we took it from Mexico through war.

    The Minutemen stand outside protesting illegal immigration when they themselves are the illegal occupiers of terrain stolen from Mexico.

    The city name is Spanish for Saint Didacus of of Alcalá, a Catholic saint from Spain.

    No irony there.

    July 14, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. William Courtland, Waterford, ON

    The Western world is often the many third world's first example, and with due invitation for installation from a third world and as the west provides the resource centers to train the personnel, the craftsmen, and the engineers while also collecting the best teachers for those new global enterprise.

    With billions of people on the earth secondary systems of tracking and exploitation prevention can be arranged, once unions are globally stable and unified with the senates of the many nations the unions can establish a natural world value by creating paychecks which are eliminated as Global, National, and Dirty cash use recorded stock and service certificate.

    July 14, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Erin in Edmonds WA

    What ever happened to Article 2 of the consitution–the qualifications clause for president: A candidate must be born in the US in order to be president.

    This was an issue when someone was throwing Arnold Schwarzenegger's name as a posslbe presidential candidate. If true, what exempts John McCain?

    July 14, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Not fooled by distractions

    Yada yada yada – I don't trust anything that McCain and his camp has to say. They say it one day and completely change it the next. I don't know if he can't remember what he said, how he voted, or what his position is, but he's too schizophrenic for me.

    July 14, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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