Some conservatives are outraged over John McCain's off-the-record meeting with Chicago Latino leaders yesterday, at least a few of whom are further to the right on immigration than the Republican candidate himself. The AP reports:

"He's one John McCain in front of white Republicans. And he's a different John McCain in front of Hispanics," complained Rosanna Pulido, a Hispanic and conservative Republican who attended the meeting.

Pulido, who heads the Illinois Minuteman Project, which advocates for restrictive immigration laws, said she thought McCain was "pandering to the crowd" by emphasizing immigration reform in his 15-minute speech.

"He's having his private meetings to rally Hispanics and to tell them what they want to hear," she said. "I'm outraged that he would reach out to me as a Hispanic but not as a conservative."

On immigration, I don't think either the right or left should trust McCain as far as they can throw him. After initially supporting the DREAM Act, which would give children brought into the United States illegally by their parents the right to qualify for public college loans and in-state tuition, McCain changed course last fall and said he'd oppose DREAM in the future. His new priority, he told the press, was border security. But there's no reason why increasing security at the border can't be implemented alongside a law that would stop penalizing children for their parents' actions. If McCain has any enduring principles on immigration at this juncture, they're impossible to discern.

--Dana Goldstein

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