One of the areas where Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) veer to the far right in his struggle for re-election has been the most apparent is on immigration. In 2003, 2005, and 2007, for example, McCain co-sponsored the DREAM Act, which would provide provide undocumented high school graduates a path to legal residency and the chance to attend college.
McCain now opposes the DREAM Act. This shift came while he was running for president. In 2007, he skipped a vote on this legislation, which he had co-sponsored earlier in the year, and said he would probably have voted “against it in its present form.” Yesterday in an interview with KTAR, McCain reiterated his opposition to the DREAM Act, trying to argue that his stance of securing the border first was more “humane” because it would fully address the “human tragedy”:
Q: I take it you’re familiar with the DREAM Act, where do you stand on that?
McCAIN: I think it’s fine, I would take a look at that issue, it’s a heartbreaking issue, to see young people who were separated from their parents and all that, but the way you solve it —
Q: They’re people that were brought here at age two or four, not their own decision necessarily —
McCAIN: Yeah, that’s a heart-rending situation, but if we could secure the border, and make sure that there isn’t going to be a repeat of this kind of human tragedy, we can address that issue, and I think we can address it in a humane, compassionate fashion. But just to pass the DREAM Act now, what’s to prevent further of these humanitarian cases?
Host: Another 10 to 15 to 20 million —
There is nothing “compassionate” about McCain’s position, and these “humanitarian cases” will get worse without the DREAM Act. Currently, the children of undocumented immigrants — who didn’t make the decision to come to the United States illegally — face a cruel fate: Each year, about 65,000 of these young people graduate from high school and are then denied opportunities to pursue higher education, barred from “in-state tuition rates, state and federal grants and loans, most private scholarships, and the ability to legally work their way through college.”
The DREAM Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), would give 360,000 undocumented high school graduates with a “legal means to work and attend college,” and provide incentives for another 715,000 children between the ages of five and 17 to finish high school and pursue postsecondary education.
Last month, five immigrants dressed in academic caps and gowns staged a sit-in at Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) Tucson, AZ office and called on him to co-sponsor the DREAM Act. Four of them — including three who were undocumented — were arrested and faced the threat of deportation. Underscoring how necessary the DREAM Act is to address “humanitarian cases,” one of those students, Mohammad Abdollahi, came from Iran with his parents when he was three years old. Now, returning could be deadly since Abdollahi is gay, and Iran is known for putting LGBT individuals to death.