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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.



"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."



"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."

By Paul Kane  |  June 4, 2007; 1:04 PM ET
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"Regrettably, I do not believe this bill and the extreme rhetoric it is inciting are leading toward a solution."

I tend to agree. Although its hard to discern the rational analysis through the cacophany of unfounded hysteria, I think the bottom line is that the compromise our country needs is not this compromise. Sadly, I don't think any compromise will do whats best for the future of our nation, as opposed to doing whats best for the approaching election cycle, because theres too much overheated passion and not enough reasonable debate.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 4, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Time is being spent bickering about issues that many may never reach a mutual decision when this time could be spent on issues that can be solved and that everyone agrees needs to be addressed. The key issue here is global poverty. The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) provided a foundation for the solution to global poverty, however few Presidential candidates feel compelled to address the issue. Groups like the Borgen Project are working to bring poverty reduction through political accountability. The 191 UN member nations agreed to the goals and it is time that the United States fulfilled its agreement.

Posted by: Kat P | June 4, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

So what are you saying Kat, your issue is the only issue worth debating?

The fact that issues like border security, use of public services, economic contributions of immigrants, etc. are being given a higher priority than global poverty doesn't surprise me, and I would only feel the alarm you attempt to convey in your post, if things were actually prioritized the other way around.

We're talking about Immigration reform here. That is important. The country isn't wasting time, as your post suggests, wrestling with issues, and striving for a reasonable resolution.

I honestly wish you luck with the global poverty thing, but I think your conclusion that it trumps immigration reform is misguided.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 4, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The problem with illegal immigration is that, at the core, poverty exists all over the world, and it is especially prominent in South America. Building a wall or arresting people for attempting to cross the border will not dispel the fact that the prospect of escaping poverty supersedes the consequences.The visitor program idea is just as ill-thought out as many other Bush decisions. Why aren't people looking for a solution? All of these immigration and illegal immigration talks are but band-aids to the problem.

If our government really wanted to halt illegal immigration, it would spend money on helping lesser-developed nations grow economically. Supporting the UN Millennium Development Goals to end poverty would a great step to take, rather than funneling money into inefficient border patrol. According to the Borgen Project, just $19 billion annually would end starvation. Put into perspective, we have a $522 billion military budget.

Posted by: euni84 | June 4, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"the problem with immigration..."
As if there were only one problem, and it could easily be solved if we just pony up a cool $19billion.

Border security is not merely an immigration issue, and ending poverty in South America (even if it were as simple as you imply) will do nothing to prevent smugglers from moving contraband across the border.

It will also do nothing to address the millions of illegal immigrants already in our country.

Whats more, people don't just come here for jobs, they come here for freedoms, for social mobility, for stable government and rule of law. None of those things are addressed by ending global poverty.

Again, ending global poverty is a noble goal, good luck to you and you project, but your insistence that the debate about immigration reform must end is, frankly, ignorant. This country is having this debate - right now - and the more you try to change the subject, the more deeply out of touch you look.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 4, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The entry into this country by legal immigrants is helpful and welcome since they have been screened by the immigration service and it has been proven in most that these immigrants are not felons, they are not host to various communicable diseases and have skills which will allow them to fit into our society and have sponsors who are responsible for any benefits which they may need (unemployment, food stamps or medicaid.) Before the immigrant is granted a "green card" the sponsor must agree in writing to be responsible for the benefits which the immigrant draws which the immigrant is not entitled, in other words that sponsor must agree to support the individual or family should an unexpected event cause the need.
Illegal aliens on the other hand do NOT have a sponsor, have not contributed to social security, do NOT have needed professional skills and work (many times) for "under the table wages" which tend to under cut the wages the employer would have to pay a citizen or a worker with a green card.
Why is this important you might say? Its important because by legalizing these illegal aliens in our country the government is making the tax payers (citizens) assume the burden of support when these people begin to draw Social Security Disability, or Social Security because they are found to be to ill to work. Additionally, we the taxpayers have already been forced to pay for the schooling of their children, for the free school lunch program and a host of other benefits for which the legal immigrant might not be entitled to for several years but for which the sponsor is responsible.
Finally we come to the last big amnesty that congress gave in the 80's, you remember when they gave amnesty to something like five million illegals in this country which turned out to be about TWENTY FIVE MILLION by the time all the "dependent" relations came to our country, and NO none of them were ever required to under go the screening which legal immigrants are required. Please do not be fooled about this bill which is being "discussed" in the Senate. Nobody should be foolish enough to really believe that all twelve to maybe twenty million of these illegal aliens will have a full screening as do those who have immigrated legally. The FBI does not have enough agents to conduct the security screening of these people within the next twenty years! That does not even include the health screening for various illnesses that we have tried to prevent coming into our country.
Are those citizens and legal residents who opposed this bill unpatriotic? I do not believe so, they are just tired of being a welcome mat for people who break our laws, who have no intent to be integrated into our society by learning to read, write and speak english so we do not have to print signs, ballots and various other documents in a multitude of foreign languages. Top that with the fact that these illegal aliens will enjoy the benefits of being a citizen or legal resident by breaking our laws and not waiting in line as have so many other MILLIONS of legal immigrants. Is this FAIR to either the citizens of this country or the legal immigrants and residents, not really. So now perhaps you might understand the voices raised in objection to these efforts to blindly allow these twelve to twenty million illegal aliens have legal permanent residence or citizenship.

Posted by: sundayschild | June 5, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: vigo | June 5, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I noticed you haven't offered any solutions in your rant, so I ask you - how would you fix it?

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 5, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Children, it has been said that rather than passing a bill that is this flawed, it would be better to not pass anything at all. As far as these liberal rants go about how things are so unfair and we need to give more money to aleviate poverty, if you give someone food or money and do not teach them how to earn, or catch or grow their own. You will have to give food or money tomorrow. My liberal friends, you give out $20,000.00 extra of your own funds in taxes first, then lecture others. Have a nice day kids!!

Posted by: h1m912009 | June 5, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

INS/FBI Statistical Report on Undocumented Immigrants
2006 (First Quarter)
95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens.
86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens.
75% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens.
24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually
53% plus of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
50% plus of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border.
71% plus of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by Illegal aliens or "transport coyotes".
47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens.
63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens
66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66% 98% are illegal aliens.

Posted by: BL | June 5, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Bl- you should change your name to BS. The alledged ins/fbi report you posted is not real, was not produced by either the INS or the FBI, and has no statistical coorelation to reality. Its a lie to bolster an extreme viewpoint.

Please don't assume, because I called you on your hoax crime report, that I am advocating an opposing viewpoint. What I am doing is trying to weed out the propaganda, and participate in a rational debate about our country's future. We can't have that when the unscrupulous hide behind anonymous postings to spread lies that demonize either side of the debate.

The truth is scary enough...

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 5, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

You have got to love liberal reasoning. They complain about the government services being inadequate for social security, welfare, school funding, medical services for the poor and then they want to bring everyone in the world into the evil USA to reap the social benefits paid for by all American tax payers.

Liberals point out the money spent for national defense could be spent on more and better entitlements. But without a strong national defense there might be no USA to fund the benefits. Kinda like what comes first the chicken (national defense) or the egg (benefits). You have to have both but you need the chicken first to get the egg.

America cannot keep taking in unlimited immigrants and maintain our way of life and of our social benefit programs.

I do know most of the liberals that want unlimited benefit programs are not the ones paying for them.

That's right take from the rich, only if you don't fall into the category of the rich and give to the poor.

Listen up liberals, every body with any moral ethics, notice I avoided saying Christian ideals as to not anger you liberals, wants to help the poor but the poor have to want to take some responsibility or action to work towards self reliability if appropriate for their physical and medical abilities.

Posted by: Bewildered | June 5, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

As for the comment from Patrick on the bogus figures posted by BL it's true. The figures for illegals in federal prisons is around 10% nationally but far higher in some locations.

As a caveat there are 630,000 federal warrants for illegals that grows higher by the day. These are not warrants for a minor crime. So you can say over 20% of Federal prison population will be illegals if we can catch these fugitives.

Also about 75% to 80% of hospital deliveries in Southern California are born to illegal immigrants. The children will be US citizens because they were born here.

This brings up the age old deli ma of right from wrong. Is it OK to disregard any laws just because you deem them unfair or your looking for a better life? Slippery slope that will eventually bring on chaos and anarchy.

Posted by: Bewildered | June 5, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

While your hatred for liberals is obvious, your statement in response to mine is pretty ambiguous. Are you saying that the alledged ins/fbi report is true, or are you saying my refutation of it is true?

I can assure you, that there is no ins or fbi report that portrays the figures claimed by bl. If you believe otherwise, than go ahead and prove me wrong. Show me a copy with homeland security credentials, fbi letterhead, a link to fbi website, congressional opposition website, any legitimate media outlet website, where this "report's" authenticity can be readily ascertained.... you can't, because the report is a fraud.
Lets keep the discussion real. Lies and propaganda help no one.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | June 6, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

This letter is not only for BL/Bewildered, but to all people who opposed to fixed the problem to all the "12 MILLION illegal immigrants". It's a waste of time sending e-mail or comments, If you think and know better and have the "POWER" to organized a group. Why don't you used your time and call on all the people whose against it and come out from the shadow and "SIGN UP" to get at less 12 MILLION people who are willing to work on the farm, landscaping, hard labor construction area and caregiver. TO FILL-IN THOSE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE DOING. Maybe by then all this issues will be stopped. The best way to do it is to convince the senators and congressmen whose against it, signed their family first as an example to all the citizens so all the people knew that they do themselves are willing to support to work and accept same salary as the 12 million illegals are. "TO LET YOU ALL KNOW" If ever this bill will be approved. It does not only benefit the "12 MILLION" Illegal immigrants or we don't really have the exact figure of how many. But the security of American people knowing they are in the safe place and community. Tax payer whose paying all the unregistered patient without social security number. A dollar tax contribution every month helps a lot than having it all FREE. Amnesty is FREE...Paying back taxes and penalty is not "AMNESTY". To secure the "BORDER" is to fix the "Immigration Bill", then build a fence. If we build the border fence first, then stop the international flight also. And not all illegal immigrants is from the border. Big percentage of visitors want to come and stay, because AMERICA is the strongest and most powerful places on "EARTH", and everyone wants to be part of it.

Posted by: AAR | June 6, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

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