WASHINGTON (CNN) – Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, co-sponsored a new border enforcement bill that does not include a way for illegal immigrants to gain legal status but remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform.
The new bill focuses on border security, enforcement, and penalties for illegal immigrants but makes no mention of creating a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, a provision McCain said was essential during the debate of an immigration reform measure in the Senate this summer.
Although the new bill's lack of a "legalization" measure, Sen. McCain’s press secretary, Melissa Shuffield, said he is “still dedicated to comprehensive immigration reform.”
“Nothing has changed,” said Shuffield, referring to McCain’s position on immigration reform.
When asked if McCain still supports creating a way for illegal immigrants to gain legal status, Shuffield said the Senator “has not changed his position.”
In a press release Sen. McCain said, “this bill highlights the steps that need to be taken to ensure the integrity of our national security and immigration system, and would provide an essential step toward achieving comprehensive reform in the future.”
–CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai