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THE NATION | On the Trail | IMMIGRATION

Voter to McCain: Give California to Mexico

May 31, 2008|Maeve Reston

John McCain bills his town-hall-style meetings as a way to seek ideas from voters. But in Reno this week, a voter offered the senator a rather impolitic proposal for dealing with illegal immigration, a thorny issue for McCain among some Republicans.

The real problem, this voter argued, is the Mexican government. "Why don't you do something about changing the government in Mexico so those people can live at home in a rich and beautiful and wonderful country? If they don't want to do that -- let's trade them half of California for Tamaulipas in the Gulf of Mexico," the voter continued, referring to a border state of Mexico.

McCain raised his eyebrows, a sign he wasn't going to touch that one. "You know," he said after a pause, "I had intended to compete in California." He briskly moved on to his plans for securing the borders, creating a temporary-worker program and helping the Mexican government fight drug cartels.

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-- Maeve Reston

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