Q&A Friday #85: Obama And McCain On Illegal Immigration

Question: “Is an amnesty easier to defeat under President McCain or President Obama? I hate the thought of either of those two as president.” — Thresher

Answer: That’s a tricky question to answer because,

#1) Amnesty would be more difficult to defeat under McCain because Republicans would feel a lot more pressure to go along with him.

But, and this is a big but…

#2) McCain is promising security first and not to move forward on a path to citizenship until the border is secure while Obama, debatably at least, seemed to be agreeing with Hillary Clinton in the Houston debate that he would move forward with comprehensive immigration reform in his first 100 days.

I don’t have any illusions about McCain on illegal immigration. He’s an open borders and amnesty pol, just like Obama. That being said, I think McCain is much less likely to pull the trigger on an amnesty because he has said over and over again on the campaign trail that the American people are demanding border security first and that he intends to listen to them.

Put another way, McCain has gotten himself into a “Read my lips, no new taxes,” position on illegal immigration. If he backs any sort of amnesty before the border is secure, which, let’s be perfectly honest here — isn’t going to happen by 2012 — it will destroy his effectiveness as President.

That’s why I would rather have McCain in there on the immigration issue, despite his horrible record, because I think it’s much more likely that with him in charge, we’ll punt on amnesty until at least 2013 and by then, hopefully, attrition by enforcement will have gotten rid of a few million illegals and we’ll have a conservative running for office while McCain, at age 76, will decide not to run for a 2nd term.

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