Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) co-sponsored the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Yet, when Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) announced on Wednesday that he would be introducing a defense authorization bill next week that includes the DREAM Act, McCain blasted him:
The Arizona Republican, who is ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said Democrats were using the defense measure as a tool to push liberal agenda items in the runup to the midterm elections.
“So I intend to block it, unless they agree to remove these onerous provisions,” he said. [...]
“It’s a pure political act for Harry Reid, who is worried about his own re-election and that of the Democrats in the Senate,” McCain said.
Certainly, Reid made a political calculation when he decided to introduce the DREAM Act this September. However, McCain is in no place to call the kettle black. In Nevada, Reid is facing a tough reelection bid against tea party sweetheart Sharron Angle (R-NV). In Arizona, McCain was also fighting for his political livelihood in his primary election against anti-immigrant zealot J.D. Hayworth, which McCain eventually won just a few weeks ago. However, the major difference is that while Reid has traditionally been a supporter of the immigration measures he is embracing this year, McCain’s election strategy has involved a total flip-flop on the immigration issue in an effort to gain votes.
McCain not only co-sponsored DREAM Act legislation in the not-too-distant past, he was also behind comprehensive immigration reform efforts that included a path to legalization. McCain once insisted that a border crackdown would do nothing to solve the nation’s immigration problem, calling an “enforcement-first” strategy an “ineffective and ill-advised approach.” During his 2008 presidential bid, McCain told Latino voters, “I do ask for your trust that when I say, I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it. I think I have earned that trust.”
Throughout the midterm election season, McCain has engaged in political backflips to redefine himself as an immigration hawk. Now, McCain insists that the border must be secured before Congress can undertake immigration reform, telling a group of DREAM students last week that, “We’re going to have to secure the borders first, and then enact comprehensive immigration, but the border has to be secured first.” “There is a lot of flip-flopping going on in the McCain campaign,” said his opponent, Hayworth, during the primary campaign.
In a statement released today, Reid said “Senator McCain should know better than anyone that patriots who step up to serve our grateful nation should be offered a path to citizenship, and that anyone who volunteers to serve should be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation. I hope that he will do the right thing and support this bill that not only funds critical support for our troops like weapons upgrades and pay raises, but also ensures that our military reflects our nation’s values.”