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John McCain: A Step in the Right Direction
-Shawn


John McCain and Barack Obama addressed comprehensive immigration reform in front of the many of the nation's Latino leaders last Saturday, June 28, in Washington D.C. But it was McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, that stood out when asked if he would make the issue into a top policy priority in his first 100 days of office as president.

"It will be my top priority yesterday, today and tomorrow," he confidently responded.

And McCain should be lauded for his revitalized public commitment to actually fixing this glaring issue. It's no surprise, especially given how he views the immigrants currently living in the country.

"We must also understand that there are 12 million people here and they are here illegally, but they are God's children, they are God's children," McCain continued, "and must be treated as such."

And so McCain has raised the stakes for himself and his campaign. If the 12 million immigrants currently here are God's children, as he has now put on record, McCain has the added responsibility of treating them as such. With that on the table, there should be no more leeway for anything less than comprehensive immigration reform. That is great news for everybody.

The Arizona senator has an impressive record when it comes to pushing the issue of immigration reform. He was one of the senators that spearheaded the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, an act in which he crossed the congressional aisle to work with Democratic senators in the face of heavy Republican resistance. While the bill ultimately failed, the product of right wing opposition to the so-called "amnesty" legislation, it marked a strong signal for where McCain's priorities stand and his recent remarks prove especially encouraging sign for his campaign's position on immigration.

Many critics credit his retreat from his hard line stance on comprehensive immigration reform to his Republican primary race revival. He even said in a January debate that he would not vote for his own bill if given the chance. But it looks likely, after securing the nomination, that he is going back to his roots for immigration reform. On the Democratic side, Obama has proven to share the same sentiment for immigration that his rival does, but his track record is not nearly as proven as that of McCain. Obama has his own problems with consistency, voting for legislation that directly hurt the passage of the 2007 immigration reform act.

But this waffling and political posturing, shouldn't overshadow the the very real issue being discussed. The threat to the everyday lives of immigrants is immediate and serious; it isn't just a talking point for presidential nominees to fight over. While both candidates have taken stances in favor of helping the millions of immigrants in the country today, anything less than full and comprehensive reform after the election will be a failure. It is comforting that the issue is at the forefront of the debate now, as it is historically been swept under the rug, and both candidates should be applauded for their focus on immigration. But with so many promises coming from both sides of the aisle, the pressure is now on for the next President of the United States to finally deliver results.
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