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Marco Rubio’s Real Immigration Reform Obstacle

Sen. Marco Rubio (Shark Tank Media)

Sen. Marco Rubio (Shark Tank)

By Javier Manjarres

As last year’s presidential campaign began to come into focus, Senator Marco Rubio was busy immersing himself in the controversial debate over illegal immigration by laying out some specific ideas that compromised his own “Dream Act”- a move that was partly intentioned to give the Republican party an immigration plan to talk about during the campaign season.

During the sit down talk that Rubio had with the Shark Tank last May 5th, Rubio outlined some of the same details of his immigration proposal that he just disclosed to the Wall Street Journal last week.  During that same interview, Rubio also disclosed some additional details that he requested remain off the record until he was more fully prepared to make these public.  Rubio however did offer us a sneak peek as to what his specific policy proposal would consist of- listen to Rubio’s abbreviated interview with the Shark Tank here.

“The goal is to give American agriculture a reliable work force and to give undocumented they’re vulnerable to being exploited.”

Initially, the illegal protection to these workers as well,” Mr. Rubio says. “When someone is [migrants now in the U.S. would mostly "avail themselves" of the guest-worker system, says Mr. Rubio. "Just the process to come here to legally work in agriculture is very difficult and very expensive. It doesn't work well. So that alone encourages illegal immigration."- Wall Street Journal

Since then, Rubio has spent considerable time calling attention to the human trafficking epidemic and is directly related to sex trafficking that affects untold numbers of illegal immigrants who are brought to this country to find work and are subsequently forced into human slavery and prostitution. Rubio even called out a media outlet for openly promoting and profiting of the sexual exploitation of women. (Source- Human Trafficking)

 Actively, you can go on there and buy a human being for two hours, and you can do that on advertising going on in newspapers being printed in this very town by Village Voice Media.  It is an outrage. - Senator Marco Rubio

But now Rubio's message on immigration has softened somewhat from the once hard-line position he took during his 2010 Senatorial campaign, having previously discounted the immigration issue until he more realized that it was the new "third rail" of American politics. Rubio's more 'moderated' ideas on immigration reform will likely result in substantial backlash from those pro-legal immigration supporters that once backed his tougher position.  Rubio is attempting to bring a workable solution to the fore about the issue of illegal immigration, hoping to finally resolve the issue not only Republicans but for the country with specifics that will earn credibility with immigration hawks and forge common ground with Democrats.  


While the some of the language that Rubio uses is likely to be perceived as advocating amnesty, the fact is that any idea that is anything proposal short of "deport them all" will likely be considered amnesty.

Here's what Rubio to the WSJ-

"Here's how I envision it," he says. "They would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check." Anyone who committed a serious crime would be deported. "They would be fingerprinted," he continues. "They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service. They would have to prove they've been here for an extended period of time. They understand some English and are assimilated. Then most of them would get legal status and be allowed to stay in this country."

These are very practical points that many pro-legal immigration proponents will probably be able to stomach, as in this statement he is not advocating granting citizenship, only giving them legal status to be able to work and pay taxes.

Given Democrats' success with Hispanics in the 2012 general election, some Republicans decided to immediately pander to Hispanics on the immigration issue by supporting blanket amnesty. Rubio's competing ideas may resonate well with Hispanics- his own conservative alternative "Dream Act" proposal that President Obama subsequently co-opted was beginning to attract favorable attention last year.

However, Rubio's own 'Dream Act' did not fully consider the pandora's box of possible legal implications that the military component that he was considering, as he and his adviser did not think through its potential shortcomings. Back in February 2012, we outlined some basic questions regarding the "honorable discharge=citizenship" provision that Rubio and others were in favor of-

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? -(Source-Rubio Walking Amnesty Tightrope)

Moving ahead to May of last year, after being informed about a few of these implications, Rubio came to the realization that he needed to further think through the military option,  and asked to be put in touch with then retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Congressman Allen West for guidance on the issue.

According to sources in both offices, Rubio never reached out to West, probably because the point was moot after Obama took all of the immigration glory away from Rubio.

Rubio is on the right track as he outlines practical ideas and principles that will modernize our immigration system. With President Obama stating that he is putting immigration reform at the top of his wish-list, we can probably expect to see Rubio roll out a few immigration proposal that will tackle some of these thornier issues head on. 

It will be interesting to see if Rubio can win broad support from Hispanics who may be adverse to accepting the ideas and solutions that come from an "American-Cuban."  While it's not widely reported, the truth is that most Hispanic immigrants believe that Cuban-Americans have had a 'free pass' to come to this country and are somewhat out of touch with the plight of the majority of other Hispanics who have come here from other countries.

Related:

Rubio Considers Own Dream Act

Can Republicans Counter Obama's Dream Act?

Rubio's Military Dream Act Options

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About author

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

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  • http://www.borderspecialtygroup.com Jake Olsen

    Marco appears to have given this matter a great deal of consideration
    It, however, does not do the situation justice. I have confidence in the Senator that given time his program will prevail

  • Rubio Resonates with Reality

    Marco Rubio will put forth a plan that will work for immigrants and for Republicans who are currently citizens. We need to support Marco so that immigrants will reallize the advantages of Republican principles — free markets with greater opportunity for advancement. Obama will try to copycat Marco, but once again Obama offers only a dead-end with taxes, taxes, and more taxes.

  • David Brown

    Any relief for immigrants must include some kind of reform for our legal immigrants as well. Thousands of well-intentioned people have come here legally to start a new life and make a home. Some of the most patriotic folks I have met are included in this group. Yet our archaic system requires that they pay more than the rest of us for almost everything, from mortgages to health care. They pay taxes and are good citizens.

    But in many cases, if their businesses fail, even after having been here for years, we tie their hands from being able to get a temporary job to make a living for their families. Or worse, we just send them back.

    These people who play by the rules all the way through the process should certainly deserve at least equal protection to those come here and live in complete disregard of our laws.

  • Pingback: Obama to Ram Through Amnesty Plan for 11 Million Illegal ImmigrantsPolitifreak

  • Lowie

    Senator Rubio is a sideshow since the election. It will be very difficult to hear his voice over President Obama’s. All illegal immigrants have found their “pot of gold” under democrat rule. Once a hard working group, they find themselves being able to stay at home and make purchases with other peoples money that this President is so eagar to distribute. In this country, that means “buying” votes. Immigration is a huge issue for our country as it has become a magnate for the down trodden of poorer nations. It is now a burden to those who find themselves having to work even harder and longer to pay the mandatory taxes this President has imposed. There cannot be amnesty without penalty if you entered illegally.

  • BoGo

    “Comprehensive” immigration reform must include the following:

    * Eliminate the anchor baby problem. We have an exception to citizenship for children born of diplomats. This should be extended to anyone not in the country legally at the time of the child’s birth. Granting citizenship to the child born of illegals violates the “fruit of the poison tree” concept.

    * Tie immigration quotas to the unemployment level. Eliminate the loopholes that allow a company to import workers having “special skills” they claim they can’t find in the US.

    * Ensure assimilation after amnesty. All immigration from the countries represented in the population granted amnesty should be shut down until the group granted amnesty reaches the same education and unemployment levels and utilization of government programs as the existing population.

    * Make the amnesty revokable. If convicted of a felony prior to reaching full citizenship you’re going back home.

    Are any of these requirements unreasonable?

    • M H

      Sounds good but I believe none of these solutions work until the border is actually secured. The worst are walking right in anyway, Deport them and they walk right back over. The politicians, including Rubio, know this. So talking about border security in terms of an immigration issue is a sham.

  • BillDiercksen

    I’m encouraged by what I read in the WSJ interview Saturday. He is developing a workable program to bring illegal workers, who are doing agricultural and construction jobs that citizens won’t do, out of the black market, into a legal guest worker program, paying SS taxes (helping current retirees), discouraging employers from knowingly hiring illegals, and providing a long path to citizenship, without putting illegals ahead of legal immigrants. Give him a chance to flesh out the details, and how to handle the military service issue for young adults who were brought to the US as kids, and are now essentially stateless.

    His deliberate approach and willingness to step on the new “third rail” shows the kind of character, Sen. Rubio has.

    • Libertylady

      The BIG elephant in the room is the social and tax costs to the states and localities who must pay for the health care, destruction of property, hospital emergency room costs, etc. of illegals. No mention i made in Rubio’s proposal of relieving the overburdened American taxpayer of THOSE costs, and they are the largest cost of all!

      I am personally in favor of deportation of ALL illegals, children with their families (so as not to break up the families,) with a chit to stand in line to come back on a legal work visa, after all the LEGAL applicants, who have stood in line for years, have been processed.

      This would give them hope for the future, but preserve the rule of law for the rest of us who have had to pay and pay and pay for the HUGE societal costs of illegal immigration.

      I DO NOT WANT TO REGULARIZE THOSE PEOPLE OF SUCH POOR CHARACTER THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO BREAK OUR LAWS TO GET HERE, STAY HERE, AND SEND ALL THEIR MONEY HOME, OUT OF THE COUNTRY, THAT PAID FOR AL OF THAT. NOT WILLING, NOT WILLING, NOT WILLING. American is not just one big teat for everyone who wants to come here to suck at her belly. NOT.

      Can you hear me, Marco?!!

  • VIVA RUBIO 2016!!!

    Rubio is in a tough spot but in the end I believe that he will have the best approach towards Immigration. Rubio is the only chance the Republican party has to survive. We must not let the Democrats get the majority of the Hispanic vote in the future!

  • John G Henke

    There is immigration and immigrants, and there are illegal aliens. These are two different subjects.
    I wonder when we are going to get a politician who has the guts to point this out. They have conflated these two completely unrelated issues together and it has worked wonderfully to confuse and baffle everybody into making pointless circular arguments that accomplish nothing but waste time and in the end allow more aliens to enter our country as criminals and continue to live here as same.

    Of course this is an important program for the communist traitors in Washington and elsewhere for the general undermining of America on the way to complete destruction of our republic. Wake up people! Get your heads out of the box the government and media have built around it.

  • M H

    Hr is wrong from the start. It is not about immigration at all it is about securing the border. The federal government, and politicians on both sides have zero credibility on the issue if border security. They do not intend to secure the border. Rubio has jumped right in with the worst of them on this issue as far as I am concerned. I will not be voting for him, period. If you plan on giving the country away might as well have Obama.