The newest GOP presidential candidate has already been criticized by Republican immigration hard-liners for his policies in Texas, where Hispanics make up 38 percent of the population.
Tag: Border fence
Former President Fox in Detroit: A Mexican Viewpoint on Immigration Reform and the US Presidential Election
Vicente Fox at Wayne State University. (Photo: Centro Fox)
A capacity crowd of activists, politicians, students and intellectuals from the Detroit metro area gathered at Wayne State University Sept. 12 to listen to former Mexican President Vicente Fox give a lecture on “Globalization and Immigration.” Those attending the highly publicized event were eager to hear Fox’s thoughts on immigration from the Mexican perspective.
While the immigration debate has mostly been put in the back burner -as opposed to the economy and the Iraq war- during the 2008 campaign, Fox said he believes the issue will be front and center and could be used as a wedge issue as we get closer to the November 4 election.
When asked about his thoughts on the current debate, Fox said the discussion was “misleading, full of destruction and lack of factual information.” He went on to say that the immigration debate needs to be more objective and that the American people, as well as the media, are uninformed.
According to the Employment Policy Foundation, the United States has a systemic labor shortage that is expected to transform the workplace over the next 25 to 30 years, as baby boomers retire. In this context, while the United States needs and benefits from immigrant labor, Fox said, Mexico suffers from the northward migration in the long term, losing its human capital.
“All this energy, all this talent is needed in Mexico for the development of the nation and the competitiveness of the economy,” Fox said.
Immigration regulation is key to changing the current dialogue. Fox said he supports legislation like the failed McCain-Kennedy bill, proposed in 2005. The plan would have allowed illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before Jan. 7, 2004, and who have jobs, to work legally for an additional six years and eventually become citizens, after paying fines and meeting certain citizenship requirements.
Just after the Republican National Convention ended, the party’s nominee Sen. John McCain sat down for an interview with a major American network. It wasn’t ABC, NBC or CBS: he was interviewed by Jorge Ramos, Univision‘s lead anchor and the host of the show Al Punto which focuses on politics. The network’s web site summed up the interview saying McCain, “skirted questions about his vote in favor of the border wall.”
In fact, McCain seemed to tell Ramos he did not vote for construction of the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. (He did not finish the sentence twice, however.) [This video has been removed from YouTube.]
Here’s a transcript of the original exchange in English, as published by Univision:
Ramos: You voted for the construction of the wall between Mexico and the United States. However, the Mexican Government has just confirmed that every year, at least half a million Mexicans come to the United States. How exactly are you planning to secure that border? Every single minute there is an immigrant coming into the United States illegally.
McCain: I didn’t vote for, I am not sure what you are talking about, but we can secure…
Ramos: …about 700 miles.
McCain: I say we can secure our borders with walls and/or fences in urban areas, and then virtual fences, vehicle barriers
Ramos: But, you did vote for the wall.
McCain: I didn’t vote for an…, I don’t know what you are exactly, what you are referring to. What my plan was, and what our proposal was, that we secure our borders, and we can secure it, not necessarily with walls and fences. Although that is important in populated areas, in the deserts of Arizona vehicle barriers, cameras, and sensors, all of those things, can be used.
Did McCain vote for the wall or not?
On Sept. 28, 2006, when the Secure Fence Act was passed that approved the construction of the border barrier, McCain voted “Yea,” Senate records show.
After that, there were several votes related to appropriations for the project, but it appears that McCain did not vote again on the matter. (Here’s Project Vote Smart’s compilation of recent McCain votes on immigration-related bills.)
Once he began campaigning for the presidency, McCain’s stance on immigration shifted away from his co-sponsorship of comprehensive immigration reform with Sen. Ted Kennedy. Early this year, in a Meet The Press interview with the late Tim Russert he practically gave up on that effort. When Russert asked him whether he would sign such a bill into law as President, McCain said, “it isn’t gonna come, it isn’t gonna come. The lesson is, they want the border secured first.”
NPR’s Jennifer Ludden mapped McCain’s trajectory on the issue in this story last June: his position now is that, as President, he would have governors certify that the border is secure before taking other immigration-related measures.
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By the way, how’s that fence doing?
Not so well, The Washington Post reported this week: it’s unlikely that it will be completed on schedule, and construction costs are surging.
Barring action by Congress, “we’re out of money and operations will stop,” border protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham told the House Homeland Security Committee.