U.S. Sen. John McCain led a failed push to fix the country's immigration problems in 2007, just before his failed bid for the presidency in 2008.
The Arizona Republican has pushed reform to the forefront again, seeking a bipartisan compromise with Democrats after President Obama won 70 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 election.
"We can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status," McCain said on ABC's "This Week." "We cannot forever have children who were born here, who were brought here by their parents when they were small children, to live in the shadows as well."
Obama is expected to announce his ideas for immigration reform Tuesday in Las Vegas, including a pathway to citizenship for those who pay fines and back taxes, increased border security and penalties for businesses that employ unauthorized workers.
"What's changed is there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle - including, maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle, that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill," said McCain, who introduced the failed Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 with the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA.
McCain said politics will drive reform. in 2012, Mitt Romney had trouble with Hispanic voters because of conservative positions he took in winning the Republican presidential nomination.
"Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours," McCain said. "So I think the time is right. … Believe it or not, I see some glimmer of bipartisanship out there."
More than 450,000 illegal immigrants live in Arizona.
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