McCain must have just fell off the ‘Straight-Talk Express’

For years, dual citizen Juan Hernandez has publicly called for the free flow of people between Mexico and the United States, brushing aside critics of his ‘no border’ advocacy by saying, “It really is a region.” Former Mexican President Vincente Fox appointed him as cabinet minister on immigration issues. He has known President George W. Bush since 1995 and quietly became John McCain’s Hispanic Outreach Director this past November. Yet at a townhall-style campaign meeting yesterday, when asked about Mr. Hernandez, Senator McCain acted a bit naive:

“I don’t know what his previous positions are…”

Yet clipping a few words from a Q&A exchange perhaps fails to provide context. That quote needs a transcript and video. Luckily, Bryan Preston of provided both:

QUESTION: Senator McCain, I thank you so much for your service … as an Irish … my parents and my grandparents both came here to become immigrants … I so much want to vote for you, I have one concern … your straight talk … it is you have an outreach — Hispanic outreach person — on your staff, Juan Hernandez, and he has said that he understands why Social Security numbers are stolen … because we don’t allow the immigrants to get their own, so it’s ok for him that we steal other Americans’ Social Security numbers. He also has written a book called “The New American Pioneers” about comparing illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants, to become the “New Pioneers” … I wonder if you agree with his policy? If so, explain it to me and if not why is he on your staff?

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: He’s on my staff because he supports my policies and my proposals and my legislative proposal to secure the borders first. No one will receive social security benefits who is in this country illegally. I don’t know what his previous positions are or other positions are, he supports mine. I have nothing to do with his. He has volunteered to help me with outreach to our Hispanic citizenry as I outreach to every citizen in America. I’ve been very clear on my position on immigration; I’ve been very clear on my position on Social Security. Of course I am grateful that so many people came from Ireland to the United States of American and anybody else who come here legally and that’s the only system I will ever support. I have no idea but I will check in to the information you’ve given me. I promise you, I will secure our borders, I will not allow anyone to come here illegally, I will not allow anyone to receive Social Security or any other benefits because they have come here illegally and broken our laws.

Senator McCain is advising his own advisor on immigration issues, not the other way around?

The Washington Times’ headline this morning reads McCain sees attrition as way to ease illegal entries:

Now, Mr. McCain says that he would focus first on border security, that 2 million criminal illegal aliens should be deported outright, and that only after the borders are secure and a worker-verification program is in place should illegal aliens get a path to citizenship [emphasis added mine].

The program’s host, Jorge Ramos, asked Mr. McCain if that meant no legalization program “for the first two or three years,” and Mr. McCain seemed to concur.

“I am saying that in the first year or two years at the present pace we can get the border secured, and then we can address the other part of it. The American people want the border secured first, and that is what we have to do,” Mr. McCain said, according to an English transcript provided by [Univision].

It is difficult to believe he “got the message.” Perhaps John McCain should solely tout the legal path to citizenship — the one already in place — but he will never hear that advice from Juan Hernandez.

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