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2010 Election Night Jeb Bush Introduced Senator-Elect Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Walking the Amnesty Tightrope?

By Javier Manjarres

Senator Marco Rubio recently delivered a compelling and emotional speech on illegal immigration at the annual Hispanic Leadership Network meeting, but Rubio may have left many in the room, and perhaps across the country wondering if this speech marked the beginning of a ‘softening’ by Rubio on this important issue.

At the very beginning of his speech, Rubio was heckeled by pro-Dream Act activists, who were there in protest of the Senators hard-line views on immigration, making the case for his continued anti-amnesty position.

During the course of his remarks, Rubio stated that there is “broad bi-partisan support for a notion that we should somehow figure a way to accommadate them (Dream Act Kids).”(VIDEO)

While Rubio has come out in opposition to the Dream Act, Rubio has always questioned what is to happen to the children who were brought here to this country illegally by their parents.

Rubio campaigned on a pro-legal immigration platform and thus far he has been staunchly against any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, but he has hit a couple of bumps along that road that give immigration hawks cause for concern.

During his 2010 Senatorial campaign, Rubio was slammed by pro-illegal immigration contingency when he made this controversial statement critiquing the Arizona Immigration law:

States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona’s policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem. From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.-Senator Marco Rubio

Rubio’s Senate campaign took heavy criticism for this statement and immediately went into damage control mode to try to mitigate the fallout. Rubio immediately back-peddled and the damage was limited.

But earlier in his political career when he was Speaker of the Florida House, Rubio was labeled as being “pro-amnesty” for illegals when he blocked the passage of six immigration reform bills that were to be heard in committee. Rubio stated that these bills did not make it out of committee, and he noted that a similar bill introduced in 2009 also never made it out of committee.

Congressman David Rivera (R-FL), one of Rubio’s closest friends from his days in the Florida Legislature has introduced the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act — the ARMS Act. It’s a variation on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some children of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally.-Miami Herald

There is now talk that Rubio may co-sponsor the measure in the Senate, a move that will undoubtedly set off a backlash from Tea Party and other grassroots groups against the Senator.

Marco Rubio supports the military component of the Dream Act, but the problem for Rubio is that this measure is another form of amnesty and it would wholly discredit him as being against any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Rubio believes that citizenship is only granted to those illegals who get discharged from the Armed Forces with an Honorable Discharge, but both Rivera and Rubio are completely disconnected with the unintended consequences that will fall upon the country if this measure is adopted.

Let’s raise a couple obvious, and not so obvious questions about the this Military-only Dream Act.

First of all, how is this going to be paid for? If you have 100,000 illegal immigrants that attempt to enlist in the armed forces, where will they serve, especially in light of the drastic military cuts that President Obama has proposed?

Of those 100,000 illegals that enlist, how many will wash out of their respected Basic Training programs? As of 2006, the wash-out rate for enlistees in the military is as follows:

Service 1998 rate Latest Available Rate (2006)
Army 17.9% 13.6%
Air Force 8.8% 7.1%
Navy 17.0% 14.0%
Marines 13.5% 11.7%

What do we do with those 13.6% of Army wash-outs, or 14% of the Navy’s wash-outs? Do we offer them a consolation prize for not being able to serve the opportunity to gain U.S. Citizenship?

Aside from the high wash-out rate and the shrinking military, what about those illegal immigrant soldiers that receive a ‘General’ discharge, as opposed to an Honorable Discharge?

General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a considerable departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action (unless the reason is drug abuse, in which case discharge is mandatory). A commander must disclose the reasons for the discharge action in writing to the service member, and must explain reasons for recommending the service be characterized as General (Under Honorable Conditions). The service member is normally required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of the notification of pending discharge memorandum. They are also advised of the right to seek counsel and present supporting statements.

In addition, service members are required to sign documents acknowledging that “substantial prejudice in civilian life” may be encountered under a general discharge.[2] Despite this, some personnel think because the discharge is described as general under honorable conditions, it is as good as or the same as an honorable discharge. Concerning VA disability and most other benefits that is true; however, a general discharge may preclude participation in the GI Bill, service on veteran’s commissions, and other programs where a fully honorable discharge is required. However, one state, Illinois, prohibits discrimination against a veteran from housing or employment on the basis of unfavorable discharge from military service per the Human Rights Act of 1970.-Wikipedia

Another question to consider is the following- how long does an illegal immigrant have to serve before he or she is ‘Honorably Discharged’ and receives their citizenship- is it 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, or more? And what if the soldier decides to make the military a career, what then? Do ‘what if’?’ provisions need to be added to the agreement regarding extended military service?

Another question- once these illegal immigrants become citizens by virtue of their military service, will they be allowed to immediately request the rest of their families?

Senator Rubio, Congressman Rivera, and others who support this military amnesty measure seem to be completely blinded by the rantings and pressures coming from the pro-amnesty lobby, and their support of this measure could very well help open an ominous “Pandora’s Box” of future amnesty measures.

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About author

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor, as well as one of NewsmaxTV's conservative commentators. Javier has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at

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  • Jeff B. Willis

    Marco Rubio can easily find a valuable asset in a proposed amendment to the constitution that will answer this thorny question. Visit

    The immigration plan proposed is truly a “bridge for the moderates.” It gives consideration for those attempting to assimulate. Yet, it is not the DREAM act! I believe that Marco Rubio would embrace the plan. It would certainly represent a path that would place all immigration questions on a “case-by-case” basis.

  • Robert M.

    Yet another reason why Rubio’s skyrocketing to the top of the conservative ranks. The fact that people on both extremes of the immigration debate criticize Rubio’s immigration stance tells me two things: 1)he’s not pandering to anyone (certainly not non-Cuban Hispanics who constantly rip him on this issue), and 2) his approach is rooted in common sense and compassion.

    I don’t agree with the DREAM Act as it is currently drawn, but one of its positive elements is the military component. As long as it’s not corrupted through modifications that would eventually allow a distant fourth cousin to “jump the line”, I’m all for it.

  • Righteous

    I am worried about Rubio’s position on border security. I don’t want to see Amnesty in ANY form until the US/Mexico border is secured. The US federal government under both “parties” have zero credibility on this issue. The Obama administration is openly pro-illegal immigration.

  • Ernie FU Pyle

    I have acceptance and compassion for anyone who is truly a political refugee (to me, that means those under grave threats, not that you don’t like who your leaders are). But this has become something dreadfully abused, almost legendary from those “refugees” from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, et al. That Catholic church was preeminent in providing sanctuary for their Catholic compatriots, and set the pattern for much of our current problems with illegals.

    Secondly, don’t call them immigrants, for that implies a legal process being following. They are aliens, and illegal aliens at that, and one should mix the two words. There are immigrants, and their are illegal aliens…period.

    And I’m for one, am tired of this overly used word “compassion”, as if those who don’t support blanket amnesty, are without compassion. Let me ask you this. Why can we not just open all avenues for all peoples to come to America? Why not allow the Chinese free access, or those from India? Do they not have much great political (China) and social (India) reasons for immigration? So why not let them in by any means necessary? Let’s just flood our country with illegals, to the point that we too will become a third world nation. Will that satisfy your need to be compassionate? At what point do we fulfill all that we can do by admitting EVERYONE? I can be more compassionate than you, I’ll just not turn anyone away at the gate, or the river, or the ports. Can you not see that this is destructive, and that the way of life you now live will be destroyed? Willful ignorance, that’s the problem with too many people in America these days; they choose not to be informed and they vote for social justice liberals, the bane of America.

    • fb.

      here here. thankyou for your concise words.

  • Walker

    The more comfortable and more confident that Rubio becomes in his role of Senator . .. the more we will see him step away from his original “Conservative” roots. I have lost confidence that he is the strong conservative that we THOUGHT we elected.
    I will not be voting for Marco again . . .and I live in Florida.

    • Rich

      You don’t get it, do you??
      He’s found out what a cushy job he has and want to keep it so he will do whatever his corporate masters, who donate/bribe him, wish him to do.
      You all refuse to admit this fact. The teabaggers in the House of Representatives are the same. They want the big money to keep their cushy jobs with the “Cadillac benefits” that they want you and I to give up but that they will enjoy and you and I pay for.
      Nothing will change until we lock the money out of politics.
      You can’t argue this point unless you’re a paid political hack.

  • Perseids

    Brother Jeb would have never appeared on the stage election night with Marco had there been any doubt as to his future support, and vote, for Amnesty. (Btw. He was the only one to share the stage with Marco that night. The name of Demint was never uttered. No doubt it would have been way to offensive to do so in Jeb’s presence.) It is certain that Jeb’s wife has shed enough public tears over the “illegal alien” verbiage. It is about time to fulfill the dream of his daddy and brother. To hell with what the people want.

    As with Obama, Marco’s statements (to the voters at least) do have expiration dates. So… Be very careful what you wish for.

  • Florida Republican

    I’ve been realizing that Rubio loves to pander. Just a few weeks ago he pulled his support for the horrible Internet restricting legislation, after republicans began to scream about censorship. He’s done the same on immigration…

  • beano

    Marco Rubio is a rising star!? just ask Hannity and other washington Republicans. The fact is Marco Rubio has done nothing for the people but a sell game. As house speaker in Florida He and his buddy David Rivera were the ones that put a squash to E-verify and other reform bills. I’m surprised the Tea Party has backed him.

  • Carlos

    We mustn’t let compassion be our undoing. The Left loves to trot out victims at every opportunity to use emotion on issues where logic never supports their beliefs. I’ve said this over and over, what the hell is wrong with the Cuban Repubs that they’re soft on illegals?
    Please don’t tell me it’s compassion, they’re as self centered and ambitious as any other politician. This demo is solid lifelong Dem and will NEVER vote for the GOP. I once asked a Lincoln Diaz Balart staffer and he told me it was “pure demagoguery”. The only reason I can think of is twofold. 1) They’re terrified of being demonized by the media, a tragic est. RINO flaw. 2) Big Biz needs the cheap labor and threatens them with cutting off the campign $.

  • Ligjhtwieght

    There no Tight Wire,Senator Rubio is on the side of Amnsety because he has never advocated enforcing the law but discussion on how to fix it.Stop the Propaganda.

  • Dagny

    Oh, please, Marco Rubio is a politician. He is left leaning and he will go for amnesty eventually. When he first ran for senator it took months before he answered the question about amnesty. We already have immigration laws so let’s enforce them. Fine, but then he hooked up with Juan McCain, and Lindsey Graham and the rest of the socialist Republicans in Congress and he is now softening. Bottom line he believes and always has believed in amnesty. He plays it according to the way the wind is blowing. Don’t be fooled, he will do anything to get ahead.

  • http://TheSharkTank Earl

    Rubio won because of the cowardice of Charlie Crist. Crist should have been man enough to run in the primary against Rubio. I believe that Crist would have won the primary with the support of Gulf Coast and Central and Northern Florida Republicans, and would have easliy defeated the weak and controversial Democratic candidate Meek. Rubio is not qualified to be the VP candidate in 2012.

  • Brigida

    We should not let non U.S. citizens dictate to us what to reform or not in our existing immigration laws.
    We already have laws which had they been enforced properly, we shouldn’t be having this issue today.
    if humans brake the existing laws, humans will corrupt and also brake any modification of the existing laws.

    This is not everyone else’s in the world country, this is a country of laws created by it’s founders which has obviously worked much better than the other countries where people who now want to change this one come from…

    Just obey the law and do your immigration the old fashion way = the right, just and lawful way.
    And please, remove your country of origin flags from your cars too …

    • Terry Shoemaker

      Colors make it so we can’t read this web site!
      Please correct!
      Thank You,
      Terry Shoemaker
      Ft Walton Beach, FL 32569

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  • Betty

    I for one feel all other flags should be banned in the USA. ONLY AMERICAN flag should fly in this country. except maybe Israels flag.

    • Polly T

      Why an exception for Israel?

  • Mike

    Rubio stalled immigration legislation in Florida for years – so it’s not a question of “if” he is pro-amnesty it’s a question of how far will he go in granting amnesty.

  • bett

    He voyed FOR the NDAA, UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Calling 100 Senators as only 7 voted against this and FOR OUR US CONSTITUTION. Also emailing them and DEMAND a NO vote on Hillary’s UN Small Arms agreement to destroy our 2nd amendment so the UN will have control of US citizens! Join me PLEASE as this will happen in a few weeks!

  • SandyfromChesterfield

    When Rubio spoke at Reagan’s 100th birthday party he brought up the fact that he did not think that children of illegal immigrants should be punished for the mistake of their parents. This is quite troubling.

  • John W. Sawyer III

    Soft on this issue? As a foremr resident of Miami, where local Cuban emigres refer to Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Marco Rubio’s (former) seats as “the Cuban seats” this “soft” side of Rubio’s politics has always been there. Having recently attended a rally for Rubio in N. Fort Myers, I can add further that soft aptly describes this lightweights inch-deep solutions on many other issues. That is to say he doesn’t have any. Like most of my fellow Republicans running for office (like Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, Rubio waxes eloquent(ly) on what’s wrong with this country and the Obama administration, but offers little specifically, what he has in that blank slate he calls a mind to fix these things.

    John W. Sawyer III
    Candidate for Congress
    19th Dist, Florida