Entry levels

"Entry levels" Continued...

Issue: "Summer of '68," Aug. 9, 2008

Obama already holds a 66-23 lead among registered Hispanic voters, according to a recent survey from the Pew Hispanic Center. But Democratic leaders believe playing to that strength on issues other than immigration could increase turnout and force McCain to do battle in states he might otherwise have expected to win.

David R. Ayon, U.S. director of the bi-national Focus Mexico/Enfoque México project at Loyola Marymount University, says the majority desire among Hispanics for a moderate approach on the immigration issue could help McCain. That possibility might explain the Obama campaign's decision to treat the matter with kid gloves. A more thorough examination of Obama's record reveals votes to continue sending federal funds to declared "sanctuary cities" and to allow illegal immigrants to receive Social Security benefits-two positions well left of the mainstream.

For McCain, getting into specifics on immigration among Hispanics holds great potential for political gain, but the price among the GOP base is likely too high. Yet not all conservatives opposed last summer's comprehensive reform package. Many evangelical leaders spoke out in favor of the bill on the grounds of biblical calls for compassion.

In an election where McCain has a need and an interest to court the evangelical vote, might his views on immigration serve that purpose? Not likely, says movement leader Phil Burress, president of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values: "Among evangelicals, the immigration issue is not hardly talked about at all. It's an important issue, but when you talk about life and marriage and judges, we'll get to that later. This election is about the Supreme Court and decisions for the next 40 to 50 years."

On the record

By The Editors

Border security

Obama: Voted yes on building 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border but has since equivocated: "There may be areas where it makes sense to have some fencing. Having border patrolled surveillance, deploying effective technology, that's going to be the better approach."

McCain: Voted yes on a 700-mile fence and has called for rounding up and deporting the 2 million illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States.

Path to citizenship

Obama: Supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants "in good standing" provided they "start learning English, pay a significant fine, and go to the back of the line."

McCain: Supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who pass a background check, "learn English, pay back taxes and fines, and pass a citizenship course," but "no person here illegally receives a green card before those that have been legally waiting outside the country."

Services for illegal immigrants

Obama: Co-sponsored a bill in the Senate to provide federal funds for health care and education services to illegal immigrants; voted in favor of allocating Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants; supports granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

McCain: Opposes making English the official U.S. language; favors expediting the path to citizenship for undocumented children.


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