Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he’s working to resolve the debate over U.S. immigration policy yet this year.
Last week in Iowa, Democratic presidential hopeful Christopher Dodd accused McCain of backing away from immigration reform, but McCain says that’s not the case.
McCain says the first task is to secure the borders. "Then you have to have a temporary worker program and the key to that is a tamper-proof biometric document. Any employer who hires someone without it would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," McCain says. "Then there’s various categories of people of the 12 million who are already here and it’s a little complicated."
McCain, a U.S. Senator from Arizona, says he hopes to hammer out the details of an immigration reform package in the next couple of weeks.
McCain spoke to about 200 people at a town hall meeting this morning in Davenport.
Karen Witherow of Davenport says she was there to hear about McCain’s plan for Iraq. "I’m not a proponent of pulling up stakes and leaving," Witherow says. "We started this mess. We have to do something."
McCain has been critical of the way the Bush Administration has prosecuted the war, but McCain backs the president’s latest attempt to turn things around with a surge of troops in Baghdad. "I know what’s going to happen if we leave Iraq. They’re going to follow us home and we need to have success there," McCain says. "Any political cost that may accure to me is something I don’t worry about, I don’t think about."
McCain is in the midst of a two-day campaign swing through Iowa, with stops earlier today in Davenport and Muscatine. He’ll be in North Liberty for a late-afternoon town hall meeting.
Tomorrow, his campaign has stops planned in Council Bluffs and Fort Dodge.