Friday, May 23, 2008
HE IS AT IT AGAIN
Oh, yes, the Old RINO got together with a newer RINO, and out of his mouth comes a sentiment designed to pander to:A. Illegal Aliens, and B. Wealthy Industrial Contributors--at the average working man's expense.
UNION CITY – Arizona Sen. John McCain faced withering criticism from conservatives in Republican presidential primaries for backing a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
But Thursday, McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in calling for an immigration plan including visas to bring employees to California's Silicon Valley and the state's agricultural fields.
McCain's broad immigration pitch – coming at a global competitiveness roundtable of California technology executives – stood out from a far more cautious tone he had adopted earlier in the primary season.
Asked by Silicon Valley panelists what he would do to grant more visas for skilled technology workers, McCain pointedly advocated the comprehensive immigration legislation he had backed with Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy in Congress.
While calling Thursday for protecting America's borders and national security and punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants, McCain advocated a humane approach that treats illegal workers as "God's children."
He said they should be allowed to seek legal status in a "humane and comprehensive fashion" through a program "they can count on and trust."
Responding to a question about H1-B visas for Silicon Valley workers, McCain said: "We have to attract the best and brightest minds. It isn't just H1-B visas. In our agricultural sector, they can't find workers as well. We need a temporary agriculture (worker) program."
Schwarzenegger echoed McCain's remarks after the Arizona senator asked his opinion on the topic.
"We need to change the system. All this is part of a comprehensive immigration reform. You can't piecemeal this thing," Schwarzenegger said.
While the governor said "securing the border is extremely important" to California, he added: "You have to have the courage to do this kind of immigration reform so we can bring people into this country legally."
In a GOP debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley before the Feb. 5 California primary, McCain seemed to acknowledge conservative critics who charged that his immigration plan was tantamount to granting amnesty for illegal residents.
Though he said in the debate he supported a comprehensive program, McCain said the plan shouldn't go through until satisfying concerns of "the American people" who "want the border secured first" against a continued influx of illegal immigrants.
Thursday's immigration discussion took place as McCain appeared at the forum at Finelite, a Union City company that builds environmentally sustainable lighting systems. Panelists included former eBay President Meg Whitman and Cisco Systems Chairman John Chambers.
Shellye Archambeau, CEO of the MetricStream software firm, told McCain her firm can't hire "all the skilled workers we need" because of a shortage of visas. She said more foreigners graduating from California universities should receive diplomas and guest worker visas "right at the same time."
That prompted McCain to openly lament Congress' failure to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill.
"It's a consequence of the failure of the federal government. And it was my failure too," he said.
Afterward, Whitman hosted a fundraiser for McCain expected to draw 350 donors and $2 million in contributions.
McCain touched down in California Wednesday for a fundraiser at the Irvine Marriott in Orange County hosted by real estate developer and former Seattle Mariners baseball team owner George Argyros. He appeared later Thursday at a Stockton airport rally and fundraiser at the home of developer Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers football team.
Also Thursday, McCain issued an angry response after being assailed by Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama for failing to back a measure to increase financial support for veterans who pursue a college degree.
Saying the Senate had a "moral duty" to pass the bill, Obama said: "I can't understand why he (McCain) would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI bill. I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans."
McCain, a former naval aviator who was a prisoner of war for more than five years in Vietnam, answered in a blistering statement released by his campaign.
"I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did," McCain said.
About the writer:
Call Peter Hecht, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5539. Margaret Talev of the McClatchy Washington Bureau contributed to this report.