McCain vs. Shadegg: Divergent immigration views
Perhaps nothing better illustrates the chasm among Republicans over immigration than the views - offered 24 hours apart - of two key Arizona Republicans in Congress, with two dramatically different outlooks on the proposed legislation in the Senate.
Sen. John McCain offered a robust defense of the plan today at a campaign stop in Miami, declaring illegal immigrants "god's children" who deserve humane treatment and a path toward citizenship if they're able to meet certain criteria. A member of the bipartisan group who crafted the legislation, which may move to a final Senate vote later this week, McCain questioned whether other presidential candidates were "pandering for votes" among right-wing activists by criticizing the Senate plan without offering a detailed blueprint themselves.
Yesterday, Rep. John Shadegg - one of the first members of Congress to endorse McCain's presidential bid - wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Republic that alternately defended McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) as solid lawmakers and blasted the plan that the two senators helped craft.
Most notably, Shadegg attacked President Bush's comments last week that conservative critics of the plan don't want "what's right for America," labeling those remarks "offensive."
Here's a look at key excerpts of the immigration debate as seen through McCain speech in Miami and Shadegg's article in the Phoenix newspaper.
TONE OF THE DEBATE
"We have proposed a remedy that, while imperfect as all compromises are, is, nevertheless, a serious, comprehensive, and practical attempt to secure our borders, defend the rule of law. ... Our proposal has provoked criticism from some on both the left and right. Compromises usually do. People of good will, who take their responsibilities seriously, argue variously that our ideas are too tough or not tough enough. I do not question the sincerity of their convictions or their purpose in proposing other ways to address the problem."
"The recent personal attacks leveled at Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl are inappropriate and counterproductive. ... At the same time, the criticism by President Bush and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez of those who disagree with them are equally inappropriate and counterproductive and only serve to further divide the nation on this issue. President Bush's comment that those who disagree with the bill 'don't want to do what's right for America' was intemperate and offensive."
"It is genuinely temporary. It grants each worker a two year visa that can be renewed twice but only after the worker has returned to his or her country for a year. They will be granted a visa only if they prove a job is waiting for them, and it didn't come at the expense of an American worker."
"The bill prohibits employers from using the newly created system to check whether or not a job applicant is legally in the country before offering the prospective employee a job. Rather, the employer may verify the potential employee's status only after the employee has been hired."
TEMPORARY VS. AMNESTY
"Those undocumented workers who declare themselves, pass criminal background checks, prove their employment, pay fines, taxes, learn English and study American civics may be offered eventually, and I stress eventually, a path to citizenship. Critics of the bill attack this as amnesty and a special path to citizenship that is denied to lawful immigrants. Both charges are false."
"The bill treats illegals dramatically better than lawful guest workers. Illegal aliens who come forward may remain in the country forever, while guest workers who enter lawfully may only stay for a total of six years and must leave twice during this period for a year each time. Then they may never enter the country again in this status. Illegal aliens who obtain 'Z-visas' may chain migrate numerous family members; lawful guest workers cannot."
"These people are also God's children, who wanted simply to be Americans, and we cannot forget the humanity God commands of us as we seek a remedy to this problem. Over 200 illegal immigrants died in Arizona last year. We have a chance this year to prevent such terrible tragedies from occurring in the numbers they have occurred in the past. Let's do it. ... I defend with no reservation our proposal to offer the people who harvest our crops, tend our gardens, work in our restaurants, care for our children and clean our homes a chance to be legal citizens of this country."
"I cannot support legislation with such troubling provisions left intact. At a minimum, Z-visa applicants should go through a thorough background check before. ... As a native Arizonan, I strongly support legislation that would include border security, interior enforcement, employer enforcement, and a lawful mechanism for those seeking employment as guest workers. Regrettably, I do not believe this bill and the extreme rhetoric it is inciting are leading toward a solution."
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