When asked why he was backing a path to citizenship geared towards Latinos Senator McCain said “Elections. Elections.” (CNN). Essentially what Senator McCain is saying is if the Republicans want to win future elections they must court the Latino vote. This week Senator John McCain lead a bipartisan group of legislators, now known as the Gang of Eight, in presenting their views for a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally and those wanting to come. They outline four main goals.
According to Fox News the four main goals are contingent upon securing, reforming, employment and education:
- Securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.
- Reforming the legal immigration system that means awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.
- Creating an employment verification system that ensures that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.
- Establish an agricultural worker program and allow low-skilled workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if the employers can demonstrate they couldn’t recruit a U.S. citizen.
The Gang of Eight senators who unveiled the new principles are Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
On Tuesday President Obama outlined his principles for the path to citizenship which includes (LATimes):
- Focus on enforcement by continuing to strengthen security at our borders. Cracking down on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers by implementing a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify employment status.
- For the 11 million undocumented individuals that are already here that means passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally.
- Improvements in the legal immigration system so that the USA could continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world.
There it is two plans laid out for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. One plan laid out by the President of the United States and the other by a bipartisan group of Senators. The two plans are not so far apart in structure and theory. However, Fox News points out that Senator McCain recognized President Obama’s overwhelming support from the Hispanic population in the November elections. This was a wakeup call to Republicans, that this is the time to make a connection with the Latino population on the path to citizenship.