Analyzing the White House Candidates’ Positions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Following is a summary of the candidate’s immigration position as listed on his web site.
McCain’s Position: “Secure” the border, then enact reform
According to McCain’s campaign web site, his current immigration proposal is a “two-step process.” The first phase involves expanded border enforcement such as: funding for “resources on the ground,” training, technology, and U.S. attorneys in the border region; deployment of additional Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; and full implementation of the US-VISIT entry/exit tracking program. After authorizing these additional resources, McCain would ask border state governors to certify that the border has been “secured.”
Following the border governors’ certification, McCain’s campaign web site says he would implement the remaining pieces of comprehensive reform. He would prioritize enforcement against “bad-actor” employers who “continue to hire illegal immigrants.” He would implement “temporary worker programs” that “reflect the labor needs of the United States in both the high-tech and low skilled sectors while protecting the employment opportunities for US workers.” McCain stresses the temporary nature of his new work visa program for lower-skilled non-citizens; while he supports increasing the number of permanent “green cards” for highly-skilled workers according to “employer and employee demand,” he would offer only a “limited number” for lower-skilled workers to “reflect the small number of workers that may wish to remain in the United States permanently.”
As far as dealing with the current undocumented population, McCain’s campaign web site says that “America cannot permit a permanent category of individuals that do not have recognized status-a permanent second class.” Under the McCain plan, “[a]ll undocumented individuals will be required to enroll in a program to resolve their status.” They would have to undergo background checks, learn English, pay back taxes and fines, and pass a citizenship course. No person who is legalized under the McCain program would be able to receive a green card before someone who had been “legally waiting outside the country.”
Finally, the McCain site confirms the Senator’s support for family reunification and “clearing out the backlog of individuals that are waiting legally outside of the country, some for up to 20 years, for their green card number to become available.”