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JLeslie's avatar

What does McCain mean by "comprehensive" immigration reform?

Asked by JLeslie (59541points) June 18th, 2012

I saw John McCain on Meet The Press yesterday criticizing the President about what he recently signed regarding immigration. McCain kept talking about wanting “comprehensive” reform. What exactly is a he talking about? What makes what he wants to do more comprehensive?

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29 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

No one really knows. This is one of those phrases that is pulled out of the closet for political purposes, but has no real definition or meaning. Mostly it means, “something that my party can use to slam Obama even though we don’t really know what we are asking”. It’s the same dynamic with the Health Care Law or the bailout stuff – the Republicans don’t have their own ideas, but they want to slam Obama anyway, so they make up some vapid sentence like “comprehensive immigration reform”.

The real problem for the R party is that they do not even agree among themselves. Some want to allow farm workers, some don’t. Some want to allow brown people from India who have college degrees, but not allow brown people from South America who do not. Some don’t want to allow anyone in at all.

So there is no unified Republican view on what comprehensive reform would be. So McCain just spouts these nonsensical terms as means of slamming the president.

ragingloli's avatar

One of the lists put out by conservatives that I have seen include the well known fence, plus mines, tanks, guard towers, armed guards, drones and a shoot to kill order on anything that moves.

zenvelo's avatar

There hasn’t been a full package of immigration initiatives done in decades, if ever. And doing it in dribs and drabs just seems to be sticking band-aids on multiple issues. Here are some questions that need to be addressed:

1. What to do with those in the US that are undocumented?
2. Is a guest worker program feasible for those who do jobs that American’s won’t? (Farm work, meat packing work, restaurant menial labor, day labor).
3. How do we manage the B1-B visas?
4. What about alien parents of American citizens?
5. What about undocumented minors, or young adults, that were brought here before they were aware of their home country? (Partly addressed by the President last week).
6. Should there be quotas or caps on immigration from different countries?

A “comprehensive ” reform effort would address all of these questions and more in an omnibus immigration act. I am sure there are many more nuances that I am not aware of.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think McCain means take care of the issue once and for all and not just make it a two year fix to try and garner votes before the election.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo has a good list there. Comprehensive immigration reform would address the entire immigration issue. We let about 1 million immigrants into the country legally. Is that the right number? Can you allow that many in each year and then provide amnesty for all those the sneak in illegally? Do they really do jobs Americans won’t do or do they take our jobs? Is a guest worker program a good idea? How do we police those that come here on a temporary visa and overstay thier welcome? If they graduate from college here, do we want to offer a permanent stay? and if we do how does that affect our quotas?

Comprehensive immigration reform doesn’t mean we all agree on the issues or even that a single party agrees on all the issues. It only means that we need to address all the issues.

Kardamom's avatar

It doesn’t mean anything when he says it. It’s rhetoric. Neither party really wants to follow the immigration laws that are currently on the books, because most people that are conisdered “haves” like to have cheap foreign farm labor and cheap foreign nannies and housekeepers.

And any kind of reform will piss off certain segments of the population.

ragingloli's avatar

Here is the list by a conservative that got 19 “raves” and a staggering 93% approval rating by the RWNJ on Sodahead

While Not all illegals are Mexican/Hispanic the are the greatest in number.

Illegals deserve no amnesty or path to citizenship. Time to get serious from top to bottom on illegals. They are a FOREIGN INVASION FORCE.

1. Finish the fence complete with Razor Wire on top.
2. Claymores & Landmines first 100 meters our side of the fence. We already can’t go into areas of our own country
3. Militarize the border with Combat Troops, M1A1 tanks, Bradleys, Drones, Apache Attack Helicopters and issue “S. O. S ” orders.
4 Repeal the Anchor Rat Law.
5. Start a Bounty Hunter Program and issue a bounty on All Illegals.
6. Severe Fines for any and all buisnesses hiring illegals.
7. Fines for anyone renting to or harboring illegals.
8. Cities/States providing sanctuary will lose Federal Dollars in addition to fines.
9. Deport within 10 days and if they want a lawyer they must pay for them. Remember They are required to carry a Green Card.
10. No Gov. Benefits or services (i.e. school etc) for illegals. Continue to purge/deport them as we find them.
11. Any illegal serving time in an American jail/prison will serve it at hard labor on a Chain-Gang.
12. English only for all Government documents, tests etc.
As for those protesting if they’re citizens throw them across the border for treason and advocating the overthrow of America.
This is the USA not Mexico and it’s time they learned that.”

JLeslie's avatar

I think it means nothing also in the sense that it is political talk and it just stirs up the right. They will go around using that word probably, comprehensive, as one of their catch phrases to here over and over again, and to make it seem like Obama isn’t doing it. But, I do think there are people on the right, and the left for that matter too, who do want a complete list of issues addressed concerning immigration. I tend to think it is not a once and for all type thing like, because rarely is something taken care of once and for all; things change over time, but addressing mutliple issues surrounding the issue makes some sense.

Mostly I am for giving people papers who are here working. I think the government turns a blind eye to a lot of it, and many businesses like it that way too. So let’s do the extreme if they want. Let’s deprt like crazy and beef up the borders and see if everyone is happier and doing better? Let’s prove once and for all it is better for America. It makes me sick to think about. Sick that people who have dire situations in their countries will have no escape to America. The majority come here to work and work hard. Everyone talks about them feeding off the system, but mostly they just want opportunity like every other immigrant who has come here in the last two hundred years or more.

josie's avatar

Who knows. One of the many reasons I did not cast a vote for Pres in 2008

Jaxk's avatar

Isn’t it interesting that when Obama called for comprehensive Immigration reform in 2008 as a candidate, all the liberals knew what it was. Now when a Republican calls for comprehensive immigration reform, the liberals have no idea what it means. Must be election year memory loss.

ragingloli's avatar

Of course we know what it is. I posted the list above.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk What were the Republicans saying back in 2008 about Obama’s idea? I have no idea, I am seriously asking. Did they agree with Obama we needed comprehensive reform? As far as I can tell the Republicans are pretty split on the whole immigration thing. Not only the politicians, but the people around me. Those from border states are generally more in favor of a path to citizenship. I have an extremely liberal friend who works with mostly Hispanics who des not like what Obama is doing at all and wants to throw all the illegals out of the country. I was just talking to a Mexican man today who said he doesn’t like Obama because for the last couple years immigration has been rounding up illegals like crazy here and deporting them. Ironic.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ragingloli Obama is looking to ease some of the laws (and hopefully ease rabid, racist, mindless hatred that has sprung up recently in America) against illegal immigrants. Nothing like the list you provided. It has received some pretty serious approval from the public, so the Repubs are trying to jump on that bandwagon by pretending like they might, maybe, consider some reforms—lying about their real intentions, which is probably more along the redneck, intolerant and ignorant list you provided us.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie I think perhaps immigration laws are mandated and enforced at the state-level, not the federal level. (I could be wrong.) In which case Obama has nothing to do with it.

ragingloli's avatar

I was stabbing at the republican immigration reform plans.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh. Thanks for the clarification @ragingloli. I was still reeling from the dog sodomy thing!

@JLeslie Looks like it’s both. This is from a couple of days ago. I guess the federal government decides what’s illegal and what isn’t, but it’s up to the individual states to enforce it.
Just curious. What state does your Mexican friend live in?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ragingloli Now that I’ve realized you posted that list tongue in cheek….is it a real list that got real approval?

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III He lives here by me in TN. For sure the people here love to hate illegal immigrants. A generalization of course, not everyone. Just a few days ago a right wing radio host said Obama is going against his own kind, the black man, by signing the new immigration law (is it a law?) because now the Hispanics will be taking jobs away from black people. Lordy Lordy the things these people say.

The way I understand it immigration is handled by the federal government, I don’t see how your link says otherwise? AZ came up with the new laws to give local police more power regarding immigration, and the jury is still out on whether it is really ok or not at the state level. At least, that is what I thought?

Jaxk's avatar


If you look back at the bill submitted by McCain, it was shot down due to Amnesty Which Republicans are against and a lack of border enforcement. The big problem Republicans have had with all the Immigration reform is the lack of border enforcement. It is the same problem we had in ‘86 with the Reagan amnesty. 2.7 million illegal immigrants became legal citizens. The result of that was more illegal immigration. Now we have 10–15 million and the problem keeps getting worse.

I think if ask most republicans in private they will admit we need to do something about the folks that are already here other than deportation. But publicly, if a republican says anything along those lines, it is taken as amnesty now and secure the border sometime down the road. And we all know sometime down the road never happens.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, Lordy lordy. Check out the facts @JLeslie. It seems like everyone will say ANYHTHING, as long as it inflames emotion!

I THINK the federal government says, “Illegal immigration is illegal.” (Doy. It wouldn’t be called “illegal” immigration if it wasn’t illegal!) How well that is enforced depends on the state, I think. We have lots and lots of “illegals” here. In Kansas. Not that I care.

I think I need some help on these laws, guys, because I’m not sure.

Jaxk's avatar


Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. The Arizona was to allow the state police to verify immigration status and turn illegals over to the federal enforcement. The federal government has filed suit to stop Arizona from assisting with apprehension. It is not a state issue but the states have historically been allowed to arrest on federal laws which would then be prosecuted by federal prosecutors. The whole immigration thing has turned this all on it’s head. Primarily because the federal government does not want to enforce the law. Selective enforcement seems to be a hallmark of this administration.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jaxk That’s what I said, I think.
Obama is for easing the laws put in to place by earlier administrations (for whatever reason) and suddenly SOME states are all into enforcing 20-year-old laws with a vengeance. To the detriment of farmers and other small businesses.

zenvelo's avatar

But as @JLeslie pointed out, the Obama administration has deported a lot more illegals than the Bush administration. They don’t need Arizona’s help. And because of the poor economy, the number of illegals has declined quite a bit in the last three years.

By the way, California farmers are facing severe harvest difficulties because of labor shortages. It seems legal workers don’t want to pick fruit.

ETpro's avatar

Comprehensive Immigration Reform does have a meaning, and what @zenvelo posted way up above is a good starting list.

In his follow-up response to that post, @Jaxk added some useful commentary.

However, I strongly disagree with @Jaxk in his analysis of the recent Obama Administration change in enforcement, and Romney’s (and his GOP bed-mates’) response to it. CIR in this guise (meaning don’t fix anything, wait for a fix that heals all wounds) is code not for Comprehensive Immigration Reform but for Contimual Immigration Reactionism. It is code for maintaining the status quo.

The Republican Party is now owned and run by corporatists. Corporate America wants NOTHING done about immigration, because it’s a source of cheap, easily exploited labor. The problem is that the corporatists may have very deep pockets, but they are very few in numbers. So to win elections, they stitch together a rag-tag coalition of immigrant haters, racists, Southern Supremacists, state’s righters, gay bashers, gun nuts, religious nuts, and—well, corporatists.

They wind up the base with demonization such as the Sodahead Post that @ragingloli shared, and then make sure there is always a poison pill attached to any bill that would actually interfere with the status quo. Dems are guilty of the same tactic to maintain their hold on the Latino and other immigrant sympathetic voting blocks. And so CIR meaning Continual Immigration Reactionism is what we get

ragingloli's avatar

I did not make that list up. It is a real list by real conservatives supported by a lot of them. Whether it is approved by the Partei, probably not officially.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Man. We’re sliding further and further back into the dark ages, aren’t we.

bkcunningham's avatar

Talk about making stuff up and inflaming people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham ? I don’t quite understand what you are referring to.

ETpro's avatar

I am terribly sorry. In my list above I inadvertently left out the NeoCons. The hour was late and I rushed through the post. To those chicken hawk GOPers (like draft-dogger Romney) who yearn to send other people’s sons and daughters off to war in Iran, Syria, Russia and a dozen other locales, please accept my apologies. No slight was intended. Your votes to always fund the military industrial complex count too.

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