HOPKINTON, N.H. – Sen. John McCain, who often faces challenging questions on illegal immigration, confronted a voter Sunday who called for ending legal immigration as well.
For months, McCain has been telling New Hampshire audiences that he still believes in the immigration plan that failed in Congress earlier this year but that he now realizes that none of its components — including allowing millions of illegal immigrants to eventually earn legal status — can be enacted until the borders are secured first.
That wasn't enough for a man who spoke up at the Hopkinton Town Hall, telling McCain that legal immigration could result in civil war in the next five years.
"Do the people in Washington — the politicians and the lobbyists and the rich people writing the checks — do they understand the amount of anger the average European Christian, native-born American feels when they see their country turning into a multicultural chaos Tower of Babel?" he said.
McCain started to answer, only to be interrupted by his questioner accusing him of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Finally, McCain repeated his promise — "I think for the 15th time" — that he would secure the borders to stop illegal immigration before attempting anything else.
He also strongly objected to the man's argument about the nation's future and the impact of legal immigration.
"I believe the greatest strength of America is the lady who holds her lamp behind the golden door that says send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," he said, referring to the Statue of Liberty. "And I am grateful to live in a nation that has been enriched by people coming to our nation from around the world.
"I will do everything in my power to secure the borders, but I love this nation and I love the people who have come from around the world," he said to loud applause.