Millions of undocumented immigrants would get immediate but provisional status to live and work in America under a compromise plan proposed Monday by a bipartisan group of eight senators.
"The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens," McCain said. "We realize that there are many issues on which we think we are in agreement with our Hispanic citizens, but this is a preeminent issue with those citizens."
Gov. Rick Perry said he'll keep pushing state lawmakers to pass a bill allowing police to ask anyone they detain about their immigration status when the Legislature convenes in 2013.
In a statement on his Twitter account, Perry said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to keep the so-called "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's tough illegal immigration crackdown gives Texas room to pursue a similar policy. The court threw out other enforcement provisions in the Arizona law.
McCain stated that, "we cannot continue as a nation with 11 million people residing in the shadows,"
Governor Rick Perry response in the 2011 presidential debate, when asked about immigration. “I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks, but the fact of the matter is this: there is nobody on this stage who has spent more time working on border security than I have. For a decade, I've been the governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. We put $400 million of our taxpayer money into securing that border. We've got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now. I supported Arizona's immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job.
“The Obama administration has a catch and release policy where non0-violent illegal aliens are released into the general public today. My policy will be to detain and to deport every illegal alien that we apprehend. That is how we stop that issue,” according to Governor Rick Perry
Hispanic Democrats in the Texas Senate decried the bill as racist and tearfully pleaded in an eight-hour debate with Republicans not to pass the measure before it sailed through on a 19-12 party-line vote. The measure ultimately died without a vote in the House.
"To give state and local law enforcement officers the power to act as federal immigration officers is a recipe for disaster. These harmful measures hurt the ability of our police to develop and foster relationships with immigrant communities, relationships critical in combating and solving crime," said Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso.
Perry has said federal immigration enforcement has failed and that Texas must protect its own borders. Texas had an estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants in 2011, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.
“We have to identify everybody that’s here, and there’s going to be an appropriate discussion in Congress on how to deal with an individual who has been here maybe for some long period of time,” Perry said. “Amnesty is not on the table period. There will be no amnesty in the United States. We’re a country of law and the idea that we’re going to tell people that somehow or another that that’s all forgiven is not going to happen. How we deal with them is a conversation. I don’t know if I know all the answers. I want to talk to the American people.”
The outline for a possible immigration bill reflects a new willingness by mainstream Republicans to compromise following their party's defeat in November, when President Barack Obama got strong backing from Latino voters.
"Elections, elections," answered Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a veteran of past immigration battles in Congress, when asked to explain the push now for a bill that proved unattainable two years ago.
Contributing writer from CNN Politics