“He is solidly in favor of immigration reform,” said McCain about Romney, in an interview with Fox News Latino. “He knows that there are 12 million people who are in this country illegally. He knows you have to address it. He has also stated, recently, and I’m happy to say, that we have to address it in a humane fashion.”
McCain, a Romney supporter, also explained the former Massachusetts governor’s idea of “self-deportation,” which says that illegal immigrants won’t be deported en masse, but rather encouraged to leave voluntarily through policies that deny them employment.
McCain said that many immigrants were already returning to their home countries because of “the economic conditions here.”
“But he doesn’t think that’s the entire answer to the issue,” McCain added.
The Arizona lawmaker went on to pledge that Romney would develop his immigration platform throughout the campaign.
“Look, Mitt Romney understands that we have a challenge with the Hispanic voter. I believe, as this campaign moves on, that you will see him addressing this issue of the need for immigration reform. We all know what we need to happen.”
McCain went on to say that he believed Republicans could make inroads in the Hispanic community despite polls showing the demographic group breaking heavily for the Obama campaign.
"I think that there are many values, and things that we share, we Republicans: lower taxes, pro-military, small business — you know how Hispanic or Latinos are small-business people, pro-life. There are many areas there that they would, in my view, would be naturally attracted to the Republican banner. And they in fact, George Bush, Bush did well in his elections, with Hispanic voters," McCain said.
McCain acknowledged, though, that the GOP needed to move forward with immigration reform to win Hispanic immigrants.
"And, we all know what the answer is, and what the problem is. It’s the issue of immigration. And we have to treat it in a humane fashion, and we have to understand that with any new wave of immigrants that comes to our country, whether it be Irish, or Italian, Poles, whoever it is, Hispanics in America, or Latinos, have an allegiance to the people who are coming and that are still in the country they came from.”
McCain also touched on the issue of Romney's vice presidential selection, a day after a report quoted Romney insiders saying that the presumptive nominee didn't want make a risky pick in the style of Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor tabbed by McCain during his failed White House bid.
McCain said it would be "very presumptive" of him to offer advice, considering he came up short in 2008.
"I think he has a deep bench to draw from, and obviously the same ones that I see you discuss … on the panels, on Fox: Marco Rubio would be very attractive, Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte, we’ve got several governors out there, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and all of these people, by the way, say, ‘no, no, never, I don’t want it!’ You’ve got to, you’ve got to say, ‘I don’t want it,’ " McCain joked.