By Javier Manjarres
This weeks amnesty-laden bipartisan proposal from the U.S. Senate’s new ‘Immigration Gang of Eight” that Senator Marco Rubio, three other Republicans, and four uber-liberal Democrats have come out in support of could turn out to be a real problem down the road for Florida’s junior senator.
The anti-immigration party is the union controlled Democratic party. – Marco Rubio, March 2009
Rubio has been making the rounds espousing practical ideas and solution for the ‘broken’ immigration system and has received praise from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and other notable conservatives for doing so.
Many expected Rubio to come out with his own immigration reform proposal that would include all of these ‘practical’ ideas and solutions, but no one thought Rubio would sign on to a proposal that is basically the mirror-image of the highly unpopular 2007 McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill that was eviscerated by the public and failed to pass in the Congress. Even McCain himself said that there was little difference between the two bills during a live televised press conference in Washington, D.C.
Before becoming a U.S. Senator, Rubio was somewhat dismissive and reluctant to acknowledge the pressing nature of the immigration issue. Rubio was heckled at a club in Fort Lauderdale by immigration enforcement advocates who were upset with Rubio for blocking several immigration bills from coming to a vote in the Florida House. As his campaign for Senate progressed, Rubio began to take the issue more seriously, and he’s now at the forefront of the debate.
Here’s a snippet from the very the first interview I conducted with Rubio about a week after his heckling and several months before he officially announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate. Rubio says that “nothing will make it harder to enforce the existing laws, if you reward people who broke them.” He then added his reasoning behind his statement by opining that, “It demoralizes people who are going through the legal process, its a very clear signal of why go through the legal process, if you can accomplish the same thing if you go through the illegal process.”
No. Never have been. I am strongly against amnesty. The most important thing we need to do is enforce our existing laws. We have existing immigration laws that are not being adequately enforced. Nothing will make it harder to enforce the existing laws, if you reward people who broke them.
It demoralizes people who are going through the legal process, its a very clear signal of why go through the legal process, if you can accomplish the same thing if you go through the illegal process. And number two, if demoralizes the people enforcing the laws. I am not, and I will never support any effort to grant blanket legalization/amnesty to folks who have entered, stayed in this country illegally. – Marco Rubio, March 2009
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It is clear that Rubio contradicts himself with his support of this amnesty proposal. But let’s also be very clear and fair, there needs to be a way to bridging the gap within the immigration divide. Both sides on the issue agree that some sort of compromise is needed, but this bill, while it does contains several of Rubio’s points and ideas, goes to far and opens the door for blanket amnesty.
The conservative backlash has already begun with Rubio’s friends and colleagues in the Senate as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are opposing him on the measure. Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin also ripped the measure for what it is- amnesty.
**UPDATE-Rush Limbaugh has now come out denouncing the bipartisan immigration proposal from Rubio and his Gang of 8.
Here is Malkin’s praise for Senator Ted Cruz for ‘holding the line’ that Rubio tripped over-
Here is by far the tweet of all tweets on the issue-
Sean Hannity sounded skeptical about the Rubio proposal and told Rubio on his show that “the devil will be in the details” about what this legislation will ultimately consist of. To Rubio’s credit, he did agree with Hannity that the borders needed to be secured first before any of the steps for a pathway to citizenship would be enacted.
It may be only be a matter of time before Floridians, who gave Rubio a pass back in 2010 for having as having a questionable immigration position fully grasp the magnitude of what some are calling a betrayal of principles by Rubio.
It is likely that President Obama will move even further to the left from the agreed upon Senate bipartisan proposal and submit his own proposal- a move that would provide Rubio with cover and the opportunity for him to slam the President for not working with Republicans.
Rubio’s vision and ideas for immigration reform are practical and are the only ones that make any sense and offer real solutions thus far in the immigration debate. But the big question that remains- did Rubio cause irreparable damage to his brand by expressing his support for a proposal sponsored by other Senators who have a proven history of supporting blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants, putting his possible 2016 presidential aspirations in jeopardy?
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