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McCain's Reversal

La Opinin, Commentary, Staff Posted: Apr 29, 2010

During the last presidential primaries, we gave our support to Senator John McCain for being a pragmatic, independent-minded politician, and for having a realistic vision on immigration. What a disappointment it is to compare that man to the candidate for reelection in Arizona today!

McCain has gone from being a reasoned voice in the immigration debate to an apologist for the irrational by supporting the Arizona bill that uses racial profiling to persecute the undocumented, among other controversial provisions. If that werent enough, the Senator recently appeared on the Fox television network saying that undocumented immigrants were "intentionally" causing car accidents.

McCains dramatic shift on immigration personifies the political opportunism we mentioned a few weeks ago in relation to California's own Republican primary, although the Senators case is much more profound. This is a politician who was once considered one of the Senates pillars in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, a position he diametrically opposes today.

It is sadly all too common for politicians to change their messages in election years to win more votes. But 180-degree reversals are unacceptable, all the more so, as in this case, when it means the persecution of individuals because of their appearance using stereotypes particularly harmful to Latinos.

McCains strategy aims to thwart a challenge by ultraconservative J.D. Hayworth in the August Republican primary. Pressure from anti-immigration extremists within the Republican ranks is leading people like McCain to take radical positions unlike anything they have done previously in their career.

We believe there is absolutely no justification for supporting the Arizona bill or for using the language the Senator did. Good deeds in the past provide no immunity for the blunders of the present.

After what just happened in Arizona, comprehensive immigration reform is needed more than ever. In this debate, McCain should be the reasonable pragmatist rather than a voice of irrational extremism.

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