A Republican perspective
By U.S. Senator John McCain
Presumptive Republican Party nominee
(Special to LPM)
Having represented Latinos for more than 20 years in Congress, I have learned that Latino values are American values and that Latino Americans are an important part of America’s future. I represent Arizona where Spanish was spoken before English was, and where the character and prosperity of our state owes much to the Arizonans of Hispanic descent who live there. And I know this country, which I love more than almost anything, would be poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of those millions of Americans whose families came from Latin America.
When you take the solemn stroll along that wall of black granite on the National Mall, it is hard not to notice many names such as Rodriguez, Hernandez, and Lopez that so sadly adorn it.
When you visit Iraq and Afghanistan you meet some of the thousands of Hispanic Americans who serve there, and many of those who risk their lives to protect the rest of us do not yet possess the rights and privileges of full citizenship in the country they love so much.
To love your country, as I discovered in Vietnam, is to love your countrymen. Those men and women are my brothers and sisters, my fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. As a private citizen or as president, I will never, never do anything to dishonor our obligations to them and their families.
To ensure that Latinos and all Americans achieve their fullest potential and the American Dream, they must have access to the best education available. Today, studies show that half of Hispanics entering high school do not graduate with their class. Many parents fear their children won’t receive the best education available. This is why we need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition; hold schools accountable for results; strengthen math, science, technology and engineering curriculums; empower parents with choice; attract and reward superior teachers.
Small Latino businesses are the fastest growing business segment fueling our economy with very much needed jobs in these difficult times. We need to lower taxes to help them and all American businesses prosper to speed our economic recovery and make us more competitive in the world economy. I have a plan to grow the economy, create more and better jobs, and get America moving again. I have a plan to reform government, achieve energy independence, and ensure that healthcare is affordable and available for all.
If you believe you should pay more taxes, I am the wrong candidate for you. Jobs are the most important thing our economy creates. When you raise taxes in a bad economy you eliminate jobs. I will keep current rates low and cut them where I can. For those of you with children, I will double the child deduction for every dependent, in every family in America.
I and many other colleagues twice attempted to pass comprehensive immigration legislation to fix our broken borders; ensure respect for the laws of this country; recognize the important economic necessity of immigrant workers; apprehend those who came here illegally to commit crimes; and deal practically and humanely with those who came here, as my distant ancestors did, to build a better life for their families, without excusing the fact they came here illegally or granting them privileges before those who have been waiting their turn outside the country.
Many Americans, with good cause, did not believe us when we said we would secure our borders, and so we failed in our efforts. We must prove to them that we can and will secure our borders first, while respecting the dignity and rights of citizens and legal residents of the United States. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that our responsibility to meet this challenge will end with that accomplishment. We have economic and humanitarian responsibilities as well, and they require no less dedication from us in meeting them.
Our country is passing through a tough time, but Americans have survived through far worse. I have always known we can build a better America, where no place or person is left without hope or opportunity. I have experienced the courage and contributions Latinos have made to this country that’s why I know together we can make our nation stronger.