Immigration Debate Brings Strange Bedfellows—And New Hope—to Washington

Republican Senator John McCain is teaming up with Democrats and a formerly antagonistic union to promote comprehensive reform.

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J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS

“It’s nice to be back here amongst old friends and enemies,” Senator John McCain said Tuesday morning as he opened a discussion on immigration at the Washington headquarters of the union powerhouse American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). His comment earned a trickle of awkward laughter from the audience, which included congressional staff members, some undocumented Hispanic youth known as “Dreamers” and a slew of reporters eager to watch the Republican make a begrudging alliance with organized labor.

Widespread confusion over how the House of Representatives will handle pending immigration reform legislation has launched an all-lobbyists-on-deck scramble for influence on the Hill. Delegates from Silicon Valley to the cantaloupe fields of Texas are descending on Washington to weigh in, and McCain is putting aside his history with the AFL-CIO to join the fray. He discussed the importance of creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with labor-friendly congressman Xavier Becerra on Tuesday.

“Treat your opponents, those who disagree with you, treat them with respect,” said McCain, who was criticized by the AFL-CIO as an opponent of worker’s rights during the 2008 election and 2007’s immigration reform debate. The federation of unions spends big bucks promoting Democratic candidates. After endorsing Barack Obama for President in June 2008, they used roughly $53 million of their $200 million campaign budget to run “grass roots mobilization” plugging McCain’s competitor. The group even launched a website, www.mccainrevealed.org (now deleted), which attacked the Senator’s voting record and his ties to George W. Bush.

The AFL-CIO also worked against McCain’s efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. Although Democrats controlled the House when their bill hit the floor, McCain and Senate ally Ted Kennedy were unable to satisfy the labor lobby’s demands, which were supported by then-Senator Obama. The primary concern for labor groups was guest worker programs: initiatives that allow foreigners to reside and work in the United States during labor shortages. Such programs would have won the support of big business and the GOP, but the AFL-CIO worried that immigrants brought into the country under such initiatives would be paid less than the median wage in their respective industries. Ultimately, intra-party disagreement caused the 2007 bill to fail.

But 2013 is different, say labor groups and their congressional allies. In March, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka struck a deal with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Thomas J. Donohue, head of the business lobby Chamber of Commerce. The alliance helped secure support for bipartisan legislation later passed by the Senate. Via conference call, Schumer announced a compromise on divisive guest worker programs. He assured organizers that under the new bill, guest workers would be paid the highest prevailing industry wage as determined by the Labor Department. “This issue has always been the deal breaker on immigration, but not this time.”

Former McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who touted the economic benefits of immigration during a panel at the AFL-CIO on Tuesday, started his discussion by reflecting on fickle Washington allegiances. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more flattered than by the kind of words of Congressman Becerra and my former boss John McCain about my work. But I will tell you that when I was head of the CBO neither of them had a word to say about it. So, time heals all wounds and let us hope that we can get over the wounds of the past efforts on this topic and we can get something done this year.”

Whether or not Tuesday’s discussion helped push immigration reform toward passage in the Republican House—it likely didn’t—the gathering demonstrated that the issue has created powerful, if unconventional, coalitions in Washington. After his Democratic counterpart shared a moving story about his former job as a construction worker, McCain joked, “Congressmen Becerra went from an honest line of work into politics.”

26 comments
ScottMollett
ScottMollett

Politics are now a racial game and it is time for whites to play hardball. White people built the USA for white people. Our ancestors would be appalled at how so many of you are giving away our nation. So many of you have believed everything they teach in the lie factory schools of this nation. The USA has not always been a nation of immigrants from all over the world. We were a nation of immigrants from Western Europe. Look up the 1913 and 1924 immigration acts for proof. The 11 Western European countries that immigrants were allowed to come from are named and the word white is used to describe who was allowed to move here. It was not racism that caused the laws it was the fact that people not from Western Europe would not assimilate. Nothing has changed in that regard. Multicult nations have failed every single time in the history of man. They end up in revolutions and dictatorships. The commie PC police have ruined this once great nation. 


Join the American Freedom Party. Their platform clearly states they will represent the founding stock that built the USA. Nations are not land. Nations are what was built on the land and white people built the USA. We are not all the same or Africa would look like Europe and South America would look like North America. All of you whites who are afraid to speak up are the worst kind of cowards. You are giving away white children's birthright to people who fundamentally do not like white people.  We are almost to the point of no return but a nationalist party that put the founding stock of the USA first can still turn this madness around. The hostile elite are terrified of the great white awakening that is firmly upon us. It is time for whites to demand an end to all immigration and demand that all non citizens be evicted from the USA. Also we must end birthright citizenship and cut all social services to anyone not at least 2nd generation US citizens. The whites who built the USA did not get a helping hand and the non whites do not deserve it either.

MikeMarkey
MikeMarkey

I take it this piece is about Senator Charlie Brown? Because that is exactly what McCain is setting himself up for. And his "good friend" Chucky Schumer is Lucy just foaming at the mouth at the chance to pull that football out from under McCain and laugh when he lands right on his kiester.

JoePhillips
JoePhillips

Mexico should be one of the worlds great Nations.  When A nation can send its Criminals and uneducated welfare citizens by the millions for another countries citizens to be their victims and support them while receiving billions back in remittances from them it is a great boom for Nations that can pull it off.


 It helps if you have a big fat rich stupid  PC  nation on your border full of Corrupt Slimy politicians like John McCain  that will sell their Nation and its citizens out for Slave labor or a vote and citizens too brain washed, to busy watching TV shows, while munching chips and dip and turning food into fat and crap, they are to stupid and apathy to  realize they are losing their country and allowing Corrupt/Treasonous politicians to turn their country into a Third World Spanish speaking Slum modeled on Mexico.  

JoePhillips
JoePhillips

This Amnesty  by a Treasonous Senate is designed  to address the few remaining jobs that because of there location in the USA cannot be out-source!


 So the political solution is to in-source millions of uneducated  labors subsidized by tax payer,s by trillions of dollars for the low end jobs which well complete the bankrupting of this Nation.. 


 Import millions of  cheap educated ones thur. the H-B1 program from places like India, etc to take the jobs  of educated Americans.


The only area of Jobs it does not address is the Jobs of our Corrupt/ Treasonous Politicians! 


 If this Bill is passed this Nation will be turned into a Third World Slum of Crime, Corruption, Poverty, and Misery controlled totally by a far left dictatorship by the Socialist/Democrat  party of Northern Mexico.

PhilJoseph
PhilJoseph

@JoePhillips Joe, TBH, do you really have much to worry about losing your job to a 'cheap educated' 'H-B1' 'import'?

JanetStockeySwanborn
JanetStockeySwanborn

I'm sick and tired of the phrase "strange bedfellows" being misused. "Politics makes strange bedfellows" means "politics estranges bedfellows."

HenryCrum
HenryCrum

The is not the first time McCain has traveled to the dark side of the force. I remember McCain Feingold and that is the reason I voted libertarian in the first Obama election. I would do it again.

rl00001
rl00001

Immigration reform is the best step forward for us, the American Taxpayers.

We should identify and tax the millions of illegals living among us today.  People that have been here for years, sometimes decades and not going anywhere.  Doing nothing will just keep costing us Billions.  Relying on enforcement only is unrealistic, expensive, and hasn't worked every time we've tried it.

As a registered Republican and support Senator McCain in his many efforts, not just immigration.  Personally, senators like him are the reason I haven't lost hope on the GOP just yet.

MikeMarkey
MikeMarkey like.author.displayName 1 Like

@rl00001 Are you truly that ignorant? 90% of these people don't make enough to even pay taxes. When Obama makes them all citizens before the ink dries on this "reform" lie, Their will be 15 million new food stamp, EBT card, Section 8 housing, Medicaid/Medicare recipients, government cell phone recipients and a host of other government goodies the democrats will ensure they sign up for. Do you honestly think that people with no education are going to make anything other then minimum wage and have anywhere near enough money to pay some fine? All of these "requirements" are going to be "waived" by Obama and democrats. Do you honest think that they're going to wait 10 yrs. for 15 million new government dependent democrat voters? If you do, you live in la la land, 

JoePhillips
JoePhillips

@rl00001Make no Mistake! This Immigration bill by the treasonous 8 and supported by another treasonous 60  will add over 33 million  uneducated welfare Democrats in the next decade, cost trillions, leave our borders wide open and destroy this Nation! 

 Its simple, if you want a Spanish speaking Third World Nation of Crime, Poverty, Corruption and Misery modeled on Mexico and controlled by a far Left Socialist/Democrat party then support this bill and the Corrupt/Treasonous politicians!

If not, than Join numbersUSA-.com and fight for your Nation and the future for your children and grandchildren!

JoePhillips
JoePhillips

@rl00001   Tax are you crazy uneducated people with kids do not pay Taxes they get paid by other tax money..Every family with less than I high school education cost on the average 20K more per year than they pay in taxes!

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@rl00001 You actually have no idea why McCain wants this passed. Just as he wanted the campaign reform act. As a registered Republican you should fear your party`s future. As an American be careful what you wish for. You might not want the results.


drudown
drudown like.author.displayName 1 Like

Dear Se. McCain:

Perhaps you'd be willing to reconcile the Unconstitutionality of [1] granting 11,000,000-20,000,000+ Foreign Nationals mass "amnesty" for violating Immigration Law(s) and [2], in doing so, thereby diluting the Electoral College of US taxpaying voters by giving said Foreign Nationals an unprecedented opportunity to swing elections? This is nothing short of outrageous given less "onerous" means (i.e,, in terms of vote dilution) are obviously available, e.g., give them permanent visas. There is no compelling State interest in granting Foreign Nationals that came here illegally the selfsame Privileges and Immunities conferred to US citizens.

Come to think of it, for all the lip service you and the GOP pay to "strict constructionism"...perhaps you would be so kind to identify the specific provision that gives the Congress the LEGAL authority to dilute the People's votes? The GOP's attempt to materially interfere with the minority vote is egregious enough. This is nothing short of treason. 

Stated differently, how is the proposed immigration "reform" NOT void ab initio on account of giving similarly situated people (e.g., people with statutory violations) different treatment (i.e., amnesty) under Federal law? It clearly violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Taken to its illogical conclusion, the GOP is content to invoke "strict constructionism" when it serves their campaign contributors' strategic interests...but I guess you have no more allegiance to what is legal, much less right and true.

I dissent. 

And so should you.

"Thy love afar is spite at home." - Emerson

gysgt213
gysgt213

Been while since something has been good for John McCain.  Glad to see the old angry guy hanging in there.

Nogig
Nogig

Americans OPPOSE by 4-to-1 any increase to immigration from current levels .  Yet that's EXACTLY what the Senate delivered -- mass expansion to both foreign "guest worker" programs and other immigration.

Our nation continues to struggles with real unemployment that is 15%, falling wages and escalating poverty.   Yet the Senate has delivered legislation that enriches corporations and elites and leaves the middle-class and poor to confront DECADES of increased unemployment and declining wages.  FACTS confirmed by the CBO.

This nation has as abundance of workers with the skills, education and intelligence for EVERY available job.  Indeed the only shortage faced by this nation is of plutocrats who recognize the need for self-preservation.  

And the only way this legislation will law in this country is at the point of a gun.

---

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

-- Thomas Jefferson

wgberger
wgberger like.author.displayName 1 Like

"Dreamers"? How about the dreams of American citizens for a nation of laws and of a people who share a common language and object to the country being a flop house for selfish foreigners demanding rights to which they are not entitled?

Immigration is a difficult topic but doubling the number of immigrants as proposed is sheer insanity especially when so many Americans are hurting and unemployed.

drudown
drudown

@wgberger 

Most egregiously, the GOP leaders of Congress that refuse to renew the SNAP/food stamps program apparently see no breach of Fiduciary Duty by purporting to "bequeath" citizenship to 11,000,000-20,000,000+ FOREIGN NATIONALS that broke the law to enter our jurisdiction.

(sigh.)

Someday, Americans in Red States will "wake up" and realize the GOP abandoned them a long time ago. 

The GOP just wants to divert US taxpayer funds to futilely police Arab states...instead of rebuilding our own home.

Unbelievable.

humanistcafe
humanistcafe

Senator McCain – Rehabilitating the Unredeemable

"There is no rehabilitation for the man who was touched by torture elsewhere but who would not pursue its practitioners here. The man who was tinged by corruption earlier but who would not complete campaign finance reform later. The man who’s son graduated from the United States Naval Academy but who would deny other patriotic sons – soldiers – their own higher education. The man who married his own personal stimulus program but who would see those in the middle class deprived of even the most meager one of their own. The man who knows the horror of
war but who would have it as his default foreign policy position.

There is no rehabilitation for the man who once scorned 'agents of intolerance' only to invite one of intolerance’s most hideous agents to lead a nation with him."

Full Article: http://humanistcafe.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/senator-mccain-rehabilitating-the-unredeemable/

CharlesEdwardBrown
CharlesEdwardBrown like.author.displayName 1 Like

Senator McCain is a traitor to the American people. He should be ashamed of himself for pandering to special interest groups instead of doing what is right for our country. We need a Federal Government that will enforce its laws. Deport all illegal aliens, secure the border and change the law to make it impossible for an illegal alien to get or keep a job in the United States.

wigglwagon
wigglwagon like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why does McCain want to replace American workers with workers who refuse to abide by the law?


People like the DREAMERS are not needed in America. The people in their home countries need the DREAMERS to help build free, prosperous societies. It is America's responsibility to help all countries build a better world. We should not be stealing 'the best and the brightest' from other countries.