Having evidently internalized the lessons from his presidential run, the Hill reports that Sen. John McCain says that he’ll work with fellow Arizona Sen. John Kyl to make sure that Republicans oppose immigration reform without border security first:
“I believe that we can convince our Republican colleagues that we have to secure the border first,” McCain said during an appearance on KFYI radio in Arizona. “There’s no point of having immigration reform unless you can have the borders secure first.”
Back in the summer of 2007, during the height of the immigration debate, McCain’s presidential campaign was largely written off as dead because of his push for comprehensive reform. But by that fall, he began to gain ground again as the debate shifted toward the Iraq war and other candidates fizzled. At that point, he altered his rhetoric on immigration by saying that the people had spoken, and he realized that comprehensive immigration reform would only be possible if the federal government can secure the borders first. At the time, it was good enough to prevent the immigration issue from torpedoing his candidacy in the primaries. So it seems he’s adopting the same strategy against current Republican Senate challenger J.D. Hayworth.