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. Timo,NYC,NY

    pandering? yes, I think so!

    July 14, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Ian

    McCain is NOT like Bush. McCain is going to build a fence TWICE as big!!! And possibly spankings.

    July 14, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Elena in California

    McCAin = Bush, don't fall for his rhetoric my Lation brothers and Sisters.

    July 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. JT

    Adios McCane....

    Spanish people

    don't like war.

    July 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    Did they check to see if he had his fingers crossed behind his back? When the Republicans put the heat on him he will be a flip flopping.

    July 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Bayou Joe

    Hard to compare records when Obama has no record and McCain has 100 years of accomplishments.

    This Bayou crab fisherman will take the old man and his experience over the young man with no experience any day of the week.

    Go John we are behind you all the way. Don't let the B's get you down.

    July 14, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Elena in California

    McCain = Bush, don't fall for his rhetoric my Latino brothers and sisters.

    Stay Strong

    July 14, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |


    (so far, no takers)...


    July 14, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Obama played dirty and needs to lose

    Anyone but the Bro and his HO- to paraphrase the Obama camp.

    Isn't this divided democratic party just great?

    July 14, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Time for a Third Party

    Is there any difference between the candidates on this issue? Follow the Election center link above. Both candidates are IDENTICAL.

    Its time for real change in America. I must confess I was caught up with the Obama campaign when he first started, thinking that he really was a new type of politician, that would stand on principle rather than polling and pandering. Clearly, despite his high rhetoric, that is just not the case. McCain and Obama are both more of the same, pandering and telling you what you want to hear with no principled rationale for any of their positions (unless you count the current poll numbers).

    The only candidate promoting REAL change on this issue or any other is Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate.

    July 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Obama panders better

    Obama panders to whatever group he needs:

    first label the Clintons racists and embrace Wright- to secure the Black vote.

    Then go left and hateful of poor whites to secure the left wing vote.

    Then stage a public scenario with first Wright and then Jackson... to later denounce and distance himself from extreme Black leaders and try to win back the white folk he called trailor trash.

    Then forget separation of church and state and pander to the evangelicals.

    And it goes on and on

    July 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Republican who loves OBAMA

    McCain is an older version of Bush, and that is scary!!

    Vote Obama '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    July 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Fixed for Obama

    Do whatever it takes to teach Obama the lesson: NO forcing your way into the nomination by trashing fellow democrats and stealing the nomination.

    July 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Arizona4Obama

    I live in a border state and I can not tell you how much I want Obama to win. I don't care about Immigration, it is a way of America anyway. Give me 5 reasons why to vote for Mcbush and 5 reasons why not to vote for Obama!
    Obamas all the way!

    July 14, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Bryce

    For the record, on the McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill of 2007, S 1639, McCain voted for cloture on June 28, 2007. But a majority of senators voted against cloture. That means that McCain voted to close debate on the McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill of 2007 and send it to the Senate floor for a final vote, but the majority of senators voted against him. In other words, he voted FOR his bill, not against it. The fact is, he fought FOR his bill, alongside Ted Kennedy and did NOT "back off."

    What he later said was that he recognized that the majority of Americans wanted to secure the border, first. But, McCain then said that he still backs his approach, only after addressing the great majority of Americans. So, he did not "back off" his position on immigration, but recognizes that the large majority of Americans, and their congresspersons in the House and Senate (including the majority of Democrats) will not support his fair position on immigration until we have a secure southern border.

    In fact, in the Republican primary debates, he said that undocumented immigrants are "God's children," just like the rest of us, and deserving of fair and decent treatment, not including deportation of families, or splitting up families. This is a key example of how basic, decent values underlie McCain's positions.

    Those are the facts – check them out before you believe the ignorant, misinformed or simply dishonest rants, above.

    July 14, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. No to Obama

    Obama is on the wrong side of Immigration, the wrong side on FISA, the wrong side on the environment and the wrong side on diplomacy.

    July 14, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. John is the right choice

    Here is another example of someone that walks the walk like John McCain who is up against a person that has never walked across the aisle, who insteads just talks, talks, talks and whines and whines some more about how bad his Nancy Pelosi and Washington are running this country, and his solutions appears to be tax, tax, tax and tax some more till none of us are working anymore (unless we are in the government).

    July 14, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. rice, bryan

    mcbush, mcsame, mcflip-flop, mcliar. voted for a border fence to keep them out, and all of a sudden he loves immigrants. mcflip-flop.

    July 14, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Nevada4Obama

    Why is Mccain flip flopping and the media is not calling him on it.
    They try say how Obama has shifted.
    Say, fear of left wing media to right wing media!

    July 14, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Can't trust Obama to do what he says, anyway

    Obama panders for votes...
    McCain is more honest and hence gives a poorer perception.

    Don't fall for Obama's ever-changing ( clarified and refined) words, hype and perception.

    Go with the person you know and can trust.

    July 14, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    Better make it Clear to ALL, McCain: Americans will NOT tolerate Amnesty OR a Path to Citizenship. We will not stand for any favors or gifts to Illegal Immigrants, whether it is YOU or a Democrat in the White House. Comprehensive Immigration can mean many things and it does NOT mean Path to Citizenship and allowing Illegal Aliens to reside in this country. Period

    I agree however no matter how much we fight it plans are in place to insure that the North American Union takes off. They are already taking away land from people here in Texas to build the NAFTA super highway. Face wether it be juan mcamnesty or barrack hussein obama America has lost all forms of soverienty.

    July 14, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. UtahforObama

    Mccain should go and enjoy his wife's wealth.
    They should retire and do race cars chasing!

    Shame on you Mcbush, the flip flopper!

    Go Obama!

    July 14, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Image or substance?

    I'm liking McCain more... and liking Obama less every day.

    Do-nothing Obama is all image and pomp and show... he AND his loudmouth wife.

    Establishe track record McCain is humble and simple... he AND his philanthropist wife.

    July 14, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Ms. RDS

    @Marc PDX....gosh if you wanna see Obama's position go look at his freaking website. Its page after page of his positions. Don't try to discount the fact that mccain made a big flip on this one.

    They will debate goodness grief, it's only July they have all the way until Nov. 4 to do that. You keep calling for a debate as if McCain is the greatest debater of all time. The only thing he is going to do it add to his list of gaffes and pretend (forget) he didn't say them the next day.

    July 14, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. ANGIE

    mccain is a lying flip flopper says one thing to win the republican primary now flips he is a flipping flopper liar dont worry latinos are smarter than that they will see right through mccain

    July 14, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9