Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said on Sunday that he hasn’t given up hope on immigration reform just yet. Furthermore, he argued, letting the push for reform die would spell very bad news for the Republican Party.
“States like mine, over time, the demographics will overtake, not only mine but throughout the whole Southwest and many other parts of the country,” McCain said on CNN’s State of the Union. McCain made the case that Republicans need to embrace immigration reform in order or risk alienating the growing Latino population.
Progressive activists, immigrant justice groups and the labor movement within McCain’s home state of Arizona have noticed the same demographic shift taking place on the ground. For well over a year, they’ve been organizing to shift the state from deep red, to purple, to blue. Similar efforts are underway in Texas, where State Senator Wendy Davis has launched a high-profile Democratic gubernatorial campaign.
It seems likely that many of McCain’s Republican colleagues in the Senate also agree with him, given that the upper chamber already passed immigration reform by a commanding margin last summer. The greater obstacle is in the House, where a further right Republican caucus continues to stall the reform effort.
But McCain emphasized that he was committed to getting the deal done before the 2014 midterm elections.
“I have not given up hope that we will act, and we must act,” McCain said.