On CNN, McCain Prods GOP Leaders on Immigration

On CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday, Sen. John McCain called on Republican House leaders to reverse their announced decision to avoid consideration of immigration reform legislation this year.

Here is the exchange between McCain and host Candy Crowley

CROWLEY: Let me turn you to a couple of political problems back home. One of them is that we’re now led to believe by the leaders in both the Senate and the House, Republican leaders, that there will be no immigration reform this year. I want to remind you of something that you said in July of 2013 in an interview to PBS when you said: “If we don’t do that,” meaning immigration reform, “Frankly I don’t see – I see further polarization of the Hispanic voter. And the demographics are clear, that the Republican Party cannot win a national election. That’s just a fact.”

Having read the statement, Crowley asked, “Is that still a fact? And do you believe that Republicans are undermining or enhancing their chances in the midterms by not dealing with immigration reform?”

McCain responded that he “absolutely” still feels the same. He said

[in] states like mine over time, the demographics will overtake not only mine but throughout the whole Southwest and many other parts of the country. I won’t give up. We have the broadest coalition of support of any legislation I’ve ever been involved in. Big business, small business, evangelicals, the Catholic Church. The list goes on and on. It’s time for those people to weigh in and bring pressure to bear and say, “Look, we need to act.” And I have not given up hope that we will act, and we must act. And I would again urge my House colleagues to consider whatever way they want to pursue to try to address this issue. Because it’s going to have to be addressed. And to wait to 2015, when we [will be] involved in Republican primaries obviously would not be a viable scenario.

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