Barack Obama and John McCain on Immigration, the Issue Neither Wants to Discuss

Neither candidate is credibly tough on immigration.

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Immigration is the issue neither candidate will address. 

If you go to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign website, it says the following:

Obama’s comprehensive immigration plan will:

  • Create Secure Borders
  • Improve Our Immigration System
  • Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
  • Bring People Out of the Shadows
  • Work to Promote Economic Development in Mexico and Decrease Illegal Immigration"

The same page sports a video of him speaking to the National Council of La Raza, the "open wide the borders" group, in which he says, "I won't walk away from the 12 million undocumented immigrants who work and contribute to our country every day."

Not to put too fine a point on it but, you can't be in favor of illegal immigrants and "create secure borders" and "remove incentives to enter illegally" all at the same time. It's completely impossible. But it's emblematic of Obama's desire to be all things to all people at the same time. The down side? Many of his current supporters will end up immeasurably disappointed with his presidency (assuming he wins office) and when he's called upon to take a stand instead of making contradictory promises with impunity.

Let's switch to Sen. John McCain's position on immigration.

In the now infamous words of Sen. John Kerry, McCain was for it before he was against it. McCain used to espouse a more open-borders policy than he does now. In his attempt to woo the right wing of the Republican Party, he has gotten tougher on illegal immigration in his dotage. His website says:

John McCain believes America's immigration system is broken. He is committed to a two-step process to reform.

Securing Our Borders First. John McCain's top immigration priority is to finish securing our borders in an expedited manner...[He supports]...Implementing sound policies for contracting Department of Homeland Security software and infrastructure...[and] deploy[ing] Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other aircraft where needed and appropriate in the border region.

...Once the borders are secure, John McCain will: Prosecute “Bad-Actor” Employers. John McCain will implement a secure, accurate, and reliable electronic employment verification system to ensure that individuals are screened for work eligibility in a real-time fashion . . . Establish a user-friendly system employing a limited set of secure documents that contain biometric data and are electronically verifiable to check a worker’s identity. [Which by the way already exists and is called, E-Verify.]

And so on. But McCain has not gone so far as to say he'll deport illegal immigrants. His website goes on to say:

All undocumented individuals will be required to enroll in a program to resolve their status. This program will use background checks to identify criminal aliens for prosecution and deportation. (What about the fact that all illegal immigrants are illegally in the United States and, hence, criminals?) Assure that the remaining undocumented immigrants learn English, pay back taxes and fines, and pass a citizenship course as part of a path to legal status.

Yeah, right!