John McCain will address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Washington, DC this morning, speaking on a range of issues in the campaign — including immigration. According to an early release of McCain’s speech, he plans on emphasizing his more moderate policies on comprehensive immigration reform, but warns that the US has to secure the border first (emphasis mine):
I and many other colleagues twice attempted to pass comprehensive immigration legislation to fix our broken borders; ensure respect for the laws of this country; recognize the important economic necessity of immigrant laborers; apprehend those who came here illegally to commit crimes; and deal practically and humanely with those who came here, as my distant ancestors did, to build a better, safer life for their families, without excusing the fact they came here illegally or granting them privileges before those who did. Many Americans, with good cause, did not believe us when we said we would secure our borders, and so we failed in our efforts. We must prove to them that we can and will secure our borders first, while respecting the dignity and rights of citizens and legal residents of the United States. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that our responsibility to meet this challenge will end with that accomplishment. We have economic and humanitarian responsibilities as well, and they require no less dedication from us in meeting them.
This only occupies a small portion of the remarks McCain will deliver today to NALEO, and they come just before the conclusion. He spends much more time on energy and tax policy, as well as free trade. I’m a little disappointed that he doesn’t spend any time on judicial appointments, where he can press a serious advantage after the Heller and Boumediene decisions.
McCain doesn’t take the opportunity to pander to identity politics. In this speech, he explains that border security has to come first because of the failure of the government to meet its obligations in the past. Conservatives don’t like McCain’s overall policy, but he is insisting on border security first in a forum that isn’t likely to love that message, either.