Republican presidential candidate John McCain says the "center didn’t hold" and a bipartisan compromise he and others offered to reform the nation’s immigration system collapsed this week.
McCain is in the midst of a two-day campaign swing through Iowa following Thursday night’s vote in the senate which essentially tabled the immigration reform bill. "So we failed…to move forward," McCain said in Pella on Friday. "There were opponents that believed that this was some kind of ‘amnesty.’ There were others on the other side, there was 12 Democrats who voted against it as well that thought we were too tough, that we were too tough on people coming into the country so there was, the great center didn’t hold."
McCain said while he "respects" those who have vehemently opposed the bill, he is "disappointed" it hit a roadblock. "It’s a very complicated and interesting and frustrating issue to many Americans," McCain said in Pella.
McCain won’t speculate on whether the issue might be resurrected before the 2008 election or before President Bush leaves office in January, 2009. "It’s not an issue that we can say: ‘Well, it’s over’ because it’s not over. We still have broken borders and we still have this problem of not finding out who these people are," McCain said. "I hope that we can revisit this issue. I don’t think any of us believe that the status quo is satisfactory. In fact, if you leave it alone it is de facto amnesty…silent amnesty."
McCain made public appearances in Pella and Waukee Friday. He’ll make stops in Newton and Urbandale today.