April 26th, 2010
06:24 PM ET
8 years ago

McCain defends Arizona's immigration law

Sen. John McCain addressed his home state's controversial immigration law on Monday.

Sen. John McCain addressed his home state's controversial immigration law on Monday.

Washington (CNN) - Sen. John McCain defended his state's controversial immigration law, arguing Monday on the Senate floor that Arizona needed to approve the tough new measure to ensure the safety of its citizens.

"This situation is the worst I've ever seen," declared McCain. "If you don't like the bill - the legislation that the legislature passed and the governor signed in Arizona, then carry out the federal responsibilities, which are to secure the border."

McCain is locked in tough primary battle, and immigration has become a central issue.

He recently released a 10-point plan for the federal government to tighten the Arizona-Mexican border. It calls for the completion of 700 miles of fencing and assigning 3,000 National Guard troops to the region.

"This is a struggle on our side of the border for the fundamental obligation that any government has, and that is to provide its citizens with secure borders. Right now our citizens are not safe," he said.

Signed into law on Friday, the Arizona measure requires police to determine whether a person is in the United States legally, and immigrants will need to carry their alien registration documents at all times. Critics say the law will lead to racial profiling, a notion both Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and McCain dismiss.

"Many have viewed this as a civil rights issue. There's no intention whatsoever to violate anyone's civil rights," said McCain. "But this is a national security issue. This is a national security issue where the United
States of America has an unsecured border between Arizona and Mexico, which has
led to violence."

McCain previously led congressional efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform, which would have included new border security along with a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented workers. That legislation faltered in 2007, but not before McCain was lambasted for his position by many fellow

One critic, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, is now forcefully challenging McCain in the Republican primary, highlighting his opponent's prior support for comprehensive immigration reform. Hayworth is running to McCain's right and showcasing their differences - past and present - on the issue.

Filed under: 2010 • Arizona • Immigration • John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. art in kingwood

    So if Mr. Obama's divisive statements are find with CNN to the point you don't even mention them, then you should have no problem with people wishing to stop his Marxist crappola are calling on Whites, Males, Hetrosexuals, and people of faith to turn out at the polls in November.

    You people at CNN are truly disgusting.

    And what about the GM lie by the so called CEO of CNN ?

    April 26, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Jeremiah brokop

    Something needs to be done about immigration. While many disagreed with his comprehensive immigration reform but at least he was doing something, as are the congress and governor of Arizona. Maybe its not the best solution. Maybe it will lead to racial profiling. But someone has to enforce our migration laws.

    April 26, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. rdepontb

    Dear Senator McCain,

    You are so far lost in left field. There you are, a senior senator, a senior leader of our fine country and of your beautiful state, and you were not able to rouse interest in protecting your border all the while the Republicans held the reins?

    This is a very desperate attempt by a very desperate man to have someone else do the hard work-politically hard work-for him.

    Sir, we have become so disenchanted with your handling of your position over these past few years, that we have pretty much tuned you out completely. I'm sure you can understand why it's time for you to go enjoy your many remaining years with your family and friends, and let those still in the fight carry on.

    April 26, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Shelly

    I don't even want to comment on flip flop McCain....I believe we need to stop illegal immigration. But how do you minimize racial profiling while
    stopping illegals? How will the legal, hard working and tax paying dark haired/skinned folks be passed as Americans or will they also be asked for their papers? A very thin line?

    April 26, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Moderate

    I believe in securing the borders, but McCain, for goodness sakes, you pushed back on this issue, now your for it? I guess you were for it before you were against it. Wait, that's John Kerry line!

    April 26, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Quiz

    I remember cheering when the Berlin Wall came down. Now we're building one???

    April 26, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Why not ?

    The Feds are not enforcing the law, that leaves the States to do what they must to protect their citizens, their property and their soverignity.

    I agree that there are human rights that apply and must be protected. However, that is not the same as citizenship. Illegals are here illegally, enough said.

    April 26, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Artie

    Lawful immigration is a right! Unlawful mass invasion is what we have! Enforce the law or pay the consequences America!

    April 26, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Minorities and so-called illegal immigrants own and live on the most prime real estate in Phoenix, AZ which is better known as the Southside where one of the largest parks in the world is located. This is no more than an attempt to go in and remove them from this real estate for their own self serving purposes. Define what is meant by "our citizens aren't safe". McCain along with many of the citizens who feel unsafe don't live in minority or so-called illegal immigrant neighborhoods. In Phoenix, AZ the minorities and or so-called illegal immigrants get along just fine.

    April 26, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. ib

    This bill is good. We need to stop looking the other way; these people need to be sent back where they came from. I'm tired of working night and day and watching these people get something free that I've had to work for. We need more states to stand up and not give in to Obama.

    April 26, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. annie s

    I can't even imagine that there was a time I admired John McCain. What a total loser.

    April 26, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  12. kfc

    This is ridiculos just let everyone in the us show carry a card. When the police pull you over they can ask for license, registration, insurance, and citizen card. If people do not have it then check their status. Or, just check everybody that is stopped. That will solve the problem. Everyone who is an illigal imagrant does not look like they are spanish. Just check everyone who gets stopped for a violation dealing with the law.

    April 26, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. tanyia

    What about the corporations that hire the illegals? Unless you address this issue then the immigration problems will never go away.

    April 26, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. Luis Teixiera

    The 30% of the population of Arizona is Hispanic, from census of 2009, so when the gobernor of Arizona say that 70% of the population support the law...we know of who they are talking.....and after they say that they are not Racist....don't make me...please.. jajaja

    April 26, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    John McCain turns whatever way the wind blows. I think his Republican challenger is a nutjob, so I guess the only answer for Arizona is to elect a Democrat!

    April 26, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    No state would have an illegal immigrant problem if people would stop breaking the law by hiring illegal immigrants.

    April 26, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. Daniel-2

    Nothing Sen.John McCain does surprises me.So as I expect,he would be in favor of this discriminatory legislation against the hispanic population,while I,on the other hand favor the Spanish language as the language used both in school and in business by the hispanics and other people as an alternative to English.

    April 26, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Givemeabreak!!!

    So where has dear old john been all these years ???? Has he just realized that illegal means illegal????

    April 26, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. ED FL

    With all the FRE MEDICAL benefits MCCain has he should go see a shrink. His age is catching up with him and he cannot remember from day to day what he said yesterday. He has been hanging around Pitiful Palin to much.It seems that once upon a time Mccain loved freedom and opportunity for all who tried to live the American dream.He needs help.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. dgwilson429

    who is mccain?
    wasn't he Obama's piano player in the farce of 2008.

    April 26, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Donnatella

    Even though I actually agree with the immigration law, I can't stand MCCain he will say or do anything to get re-elected, somebody please put this old goat out to pasture.

    April 26, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. gerry luimes

    Building walls and/or fences reminds one of the castle protected by its surrounding moat.Well,this proposal may be democracy in action.
    Whichever political faction will be able to solve the longstanding immigration problem will be the party of the future !

    April 26, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. If We Can Defeat Him On Health Care It Will Be His Waterloo

    McCain will lose to JD, who will lose to the Democrat, as Arizona watches the beginning of the demise of the Republican party.

    Hey Arizona Republicans: Can you say Pete Wilson? Can you say
    Prop 187? Can you say permanent minority status?

    April 26, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Wow, McCain sure has filpped since he has a wack job running against him. Didn't he propose immigration reform before becoming such a flip flopper? I would like to dare any Arizona cop to demand "my papers" like some kind of Gestapo agent. What has this country come to? Maybe they should have the Hispanic aliens were like a taco emblem on their coat so we can better single them out.

    April 26, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    Racial profiling was certainly intended in the bill, and it does violate civil rights. There is no denying it.

    McCain is desperately trying to defend the indefensible; much the same way he and his GOP will somehow defend their siding with Wall St. greed and hedge fund managers. It's shameful.

    April 26, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
1 2 3