At the risk of redundancy, the write-up of John McCain’s response yesterday to the La Raza activist didn’t quite capture the sharp nature of the exchange between himself and Enrique Morones. Morones, a member of Borders Angels, accused the US of killing ten thousand people on the border with our “militarization” and demanded that McCain disavow border security. McCain gave him a very testy reply, captured here on audio bu HA reader Edgar M:
McCain: Let me just tell you sir, I talked about the people who have come across here illegally and those who have died in the desert. I know that — I come from a border state. I’ve been in Mexico many times. But there’s also drugs coming across our border, sir, that are killing Americans too. And they’re working right there [applause] — yes, sir, and they’re working right there and sending people who just want to come across the border illegally to cover their own activities. [voice rising] The United States of America has to have secure borders, sir, and I will do that. And that’s necessary even if you may disagree. Our nation’s national-security requirements are — that we have secure borders. But we can address this issue in a humane and compassionate fashion, I am committed to that and you have my commitment to it, and we will make it the highest priority, and if you don’t think that we have to secure our borders, then I respect your view but we just disagree.
Interestingly, Enrique Morones got the attention the other presidential candidate the day before. When Barack Obama spoke to La Raza, he didn’t call out Morones for his views on border security, but instead praised him for his open-borders activism (via Immigration Watchdog):
Local immigrant-rights activist Enrique Morones said he was thrilled but shocked to receive a public thank-you from Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate was launching into his speech Sunday at the National Council of La Raza convention.
Obama, at the podium, had just thanked two top NCLR officials before his speech when he thanked Morones of Border Angels, a group that stocks desert water stations and lobbies intensely for immigrant rights, often with a theatrical flair and a blunt style that has drawn the ire of anti-illegal immigration activists.
Morones said that prior to the speech he, several elected officials and others had attended a meeting with Obama and his campaign staff, and that he’d handed the candidate a t-shirt from his “Marcha Migrante III,” the third in a series of cross-country trips he and other activists have made to lobby elected officials for immigrant-friendly law changes.
I know most Hot Air commenters hotly oppose McCain on immigration, and have demanded that he commit to border security. He did so in perhaps the most unfriendly confines for such an announcement, and even fired back at an activist who demanded open borders in a forceful and direct manner. Opposite McCain, we have a candidate who cheers the same activist for his work in promoting open borders. That seems like a rather significant difference to me.