While discussing immigration reform on ABC’s This Week, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons.”
Immigration reform is allegedly on the docket this week. Sen. Richard Durbin (D- Ill), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are working on it. Republicans Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Marco Rubio (R-FLA) joined them in the effort. So far so good. Durbin said that the bill will include the DREAM Act.
McCain, who in 2010 said he wanted “certainly no amnesty” in immigration reform, said on ABC’s This Week that he thinks immigration reform has a chance this time because Republicans will be willing to pass it.
Transcript from ABC’s This Week:
RADDATZ: You’re announcing this week?
MCCAIN: Yeah, we’ll be — Senator Menendez and I and Senator Schumer, Senator Graham, Senator Durbin, and some — we are — we’ve been working together for some weeks now. We’ll be coming forward. It’s not that much different from what we tried to do in 2007. Martha, what’s changed is — honestly, is that there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle — including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle — that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
McCain then bizarrely revealed that Republicans should own the Hispanic vote:
MCCAIN: Well, look, I’ll give you a little straight talk. Look at the last election. Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we’ve got to understand that.
See, it’s moments like this when immigration reform seems further away rather than nearer. Republicans must stop talking about Hispanics, African Americans and women as if they are something that can be owned. The proper way to say what the Senator meant is to say that Republicans think there are many issues on which their party is in agreement with the top concerns of Hispanics.
But John McCain can’t say that, because it’s not true. See, Hispanics care about more things than just immigration reform. Really.
The Obama campaign figured this out and addressed Hispanics’ concerns about the economy, access to healthcare and education, just as if they were normal Americans. Go figure.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that state Republicans didn’t get the message. An Arizona Republican introduced a bill that would require hospitals to confirm legal immigration status before helping people. Those who can’t prove their status would be reported.
Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, would require hospitals to “reasonably confirm” that those who show up at their doors are in the country legally if they do not produce proof of valid health insurance. HB2293 lists methods that hospital officials and employees can use to make that determination.
But the measure also says if legal status cannot be verified, someone from the hospital “must immediately contact the local federal immigration office or a local law enforcement agency to report the incident.”
Hospital associates point out that they are not equipped to do this, and they wonder where this ends. Well, it appears to have no end. The same Republican also introduced a bill to force the state Department of Education to “collect data” on how many children they suspect of being here illegally. This is not taking Republicans down the path of getting that Hispanic vote that McCain thinks they should have.
It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were planning on stealing “their” Hispanics back by running a Latino in 2016 and coming up with an immigration reform policy that wasn’t quite as insulting as Papers Please and self-deportation. Now they’re at least working on immigration reform (albeit in the Senate, which is not where their worst problems reside).
But Republicans don’t appear able to rein in the crazy. It’s hard to see how they are going to get “the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours” when they’re pushing bills that would force people to choose between seeking medical care and being deported.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.