John McCain backs (but not endorses) Arizona's tough new immigration bill (from Russell Pearce); border security plan

[See the UPDATE:; McCain backed away from endorsing it.]

Per this, John McCain has endorsed a new bill in Arizona that would, among other things allow police to arrest suspected illegal aliens who couldn't provide evidence of legal presence. Per him:

"I think it’s a very important step forward... I can fully understand why the legislature would want to act."

Needless to say, this isn't in line with his previous positions; Arizona state senator Russell Pearce is the sponsor of the bill in question, and he's usually directly opposite the more "pro-business" GOP types on this issue.


McCain’s comments to reporters came as he and fellow Republican Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl unveiled a 10 step plan to secure Arizona’s border with Mexico. McCain and Kyl want to send 3,000 National Guard troops to help an overstretched border patrol curtail increasingly violent incidents along the border, among other measures.

[McCain said:] "The lesson is clear: First we have to secure the border... If you want to enact some other reforms, how can that be effective when you have a porous border? ...So we have to secure the border first."

While his plan might have some merit, "secure the border" (see the link) is in many cases just a cover to get comprehensive immigration reform.

UPDATE: Per this, "U.S. Sen. John McCain on Monday called the bill a "tool that I think needs to be used." His office later said that wasn't an endorsement."