Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tiny Pennsylvania town puts McCain on the spot on immigration

At a McCain town hall meeting Monday in Pipersville, Pa., (population 6,336) one woman had a pointed question for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. "Why, as an American, do I have to push a button to speak English or hear English?" The audience, a sea of mostly white faces, erupted in deafening applause.

"I think you struck a nerve," replied McCain. It’s a delicate issue for McCain, who had introduced the 2007 amnesty bill in the U.S. Senate, where it stopped.

McCain acknowledged that he now understands the importance of securing the country's borders first. English, he said, must be learned by anyone wanting to become a citizen. "I understand your frustration," he said.

But the Pennsylvania Town Hall encounter followed by just two days presentations that McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama made before a national association of elected Latino officials. At that meeting, each of the nominees had pledged that reform of immigration law would be their top priority in office.

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