A source who doesn’t want to be identified, despite my nagging and distaste for being a conduit for anonymous attacks, tells me that Sen. John McCain’s response to Captain Ed’s question was “disingenuous … as he has a record of opposing his party and voting against requiring illegal immigrants to pay their back taxes.” The vote:
McCain Against Requiring Illegal Immigrants* To Pay Back Taxes. “To ensure the integrity of the Earned Income Tax Credit program by reducing the potential for fraud and to ensure that aliens who receive an adjustment of this status under this bill meet their obligation to pay back taxes without creating a burden on the American public..” (S. 2611, Roll Call Vote #155: Adopted 50-47: R 43-11; D 7-35; I 0-1, 5/25/06, McCain Voted Nay)
“And, as he’s also on the record for allowing illegals to collect Social Security benefits for work done while illegally in the country (again in opposition to a large majority of Senate Republicans).” Again, the vote:
McCain Voted To Allow Illegals* To Collect Social Security On The Time They Were Working Illegally. “To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.” (S. 2611, Roll Call Vote #130: Motion Agreed To 50-49: R 11-44; D 38-5; I 1-0, 5/18/06, Clinton, Kennedy, And McCain Voted Yea)
“So he really ought to look at his own record before he accuses the White House of throwing “more fuel on the fire,” the source says. A stinging accusation against the McCain campaign… from somebody who doesn’t want to be named.
* UPDATE: McCain friends point out that on the Social Security amendment, it would have ensured that newly legal immigrants (“persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill”) would be entitled to Social Security benefits. In other words, the immigrants in question would no longer be illegals, and thus illegals would not be collecting Social Security on work they had done.
They also note that on the earned income tax credit amendment, the situation was similar – they contend the opposition sought to deny benefits to immigrants who had become legal, or were in the process of becoming legal.
I found this statement by McCain laying out his view at the time in the Congressional Record:
McCAIN. Mr. President, as I understand the remarks of the Senator from Alabama, these people are not mistreated, as others in our society have been mistreated. Wouldn’t an objective observer view mistreatment as giving someone legal status in the United States, forcing them to earn citizenship, a whole program to bring people out of the shadows, and yet say you are ineligible for perhaps the most important tax incentive for the poorest of Americans, called the earned income tax credit? I call that mistreatment… We are going to make you pay a fine, we are going to do a background check, we are going to make you work for 6 years before you can get a green card and, yet, while you are doing that–and most of you are low-income people–we are going to deprive you of the benefit that was absolutely designed to help low-income families. That is what it was all about. If you have a lot of children, I am sorry, but this benefit that was specifically designed for low-income people, which is the majority of the people we are talking about, just as all of our forefathers who came here were usually at the lowest wrung of the ladder, and we are going to say you cannot have that benefit.
Why? Why is that? Then what we are really saying is that we are going to give you legal status, but not really, because under a Republican administration, a way to try to help low-income families was designed, instead of a handout to give them a credit, instead of welfare to give them some extra income, but we are not going to give that to you. We may cause your children to go hungry because you are low-income people. I don’t get it.