By Javier ManjarresSenator Marco Rubio continues making the conservative media rounds this week, appearing on Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin shows in a concerted effort to do damage control with conservatives who remain skeptics of his “Gang of 8” immigration proposal. As we’ve noted before, this plan includes several of Rubio’s practical ideas and solutions, but concern remains about whether the plan will contain meaningful enforcement triggers and border security provisions that would effectively bring this issue to a conclusion. (Immigration Savior or Fraud?).
Several major conservative pundits have shown reservations for Rubio’s proposal, including Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, both of whom tore into Rubio’s initial proposal.
Before President Obama delivered his immigration reform speech in Las Vegas, NV on Tuesday, Rubio expressed his concerns about the president’s true motives in this immigration reform debate-
“I am concerned by the President’s unwillingness to accept significant enforcement triggers before current undocumented immigrants can apply for a green card. Without such triggers in place, enforcement systems will never be implemented and we will be back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country. Furthermore, the President ignored the need for a modernized guest worker program that will ensure those who want to immigrate legally to meet our economy’s needs can do so in the future. Finally, the President’s speech left the impression that he believes reforming immigration quickly is more important than reforming immigration right. A reform of our immigration laws is a consequential undertaking that deserves to be subjected to scrutiny and input from all involved. I was encouraged by the President’s explicit statement that people with temporary legal status won’t be eligible for ObamaCare. If in fact they were, the potential cost of reform would blow open another big, gaping hole in our federal budget and make the bill untenable.” – Senator Marco Rubio
Here’s a key segment from Rubio’s appearance on the Limbaugh show-
RUSH: The fear that many people have is that the Democrats aren’t interested in border security, that they want this influx. For example, if 70% of the Hispanic vote went Republican, do you think the Democrats would be for any part of this legislation?
RUBIO: (laughing) Well, let me make an argument to you on that. People always say to me, “Well, aren’t you worried about the political implications?” I am confident, I really am, maybe people don’t share this confidence, I am confident that, given a fair chance, I can convince most Americans, including Americans of Hispanic descent, that limited government and free enterprise is better for them and better for their upward mobility than Big Government is. Because that’s the reason why they came here. You look at people that come from Latin America. They come to get away from stale stagnant economies where the rich keep winning and everybody else keeps working for them because Big Government dominates those economies. I just wanted to say, to the point of them not wanting to do the security, look, all I can tell you is that that’s a big issue for me and that’s why I’m involved in this process. I have no reason to believe it won’t happen, but if it doesn’t, then I’ll come back to you and say, “Look, it didn’t. We tried. They put that in the principles, but then they drafted a bill that didn’t do it, and I couldn’t support it.”
Notice that Rubio is also using some strategic and never before used verbiage like “probationary” and framing the immigration issue to what is should be ultimately about- national security.
Rubio then told Limbaugh that the President has a problem because four of the President’s allies in the Senate have signed on to the proposal-
RUBIO: He’s got a problem with his own party, ‘cause he’s got four senators, including four senators that agree with him on most things, who have signed a document that says that they do agree on enforcement triggers. So that’s something they’re gonna have to work out.
RUSH: What do you think the result will be in this effort fails?
RUBIO: Well, it depends on how it fails. I think right now the president has a decision to make. If today becomes the beginning of a bidding war where he tries to be even more liberal than members of his own party and the Senate, then I think we clearly know what his intentions are and I don’t think that’s gonna be a good development. If, on the other hand, this thing moves forward with plenty of input it’s not gonna look at the end the way it looks now because it’s gonna have a lot of input. My sense is it depends on who’s involved and who’s engaged in bringing that input. I’ll give you a perfect example, and this is an issue we should start looking at now.
At the end of the day, this entire immigration reform debate is just a big smoke and mirrors ruse by President Obama and Democrats who probably are not negotiating in good faith and are simply testing the waters in hopes that Republicans will give away the candy store and enact a similar proposal to what was offered in 2007. Senate Democrats who have sided with Rubio’s bipartisan proposal are likely to pull their support should this legislation contain enforcement triggers and border security measures with teeth.
If the legislation ultimately contains weak enforcement provisions and the mere promise of border security, Rubio will likely back out of the proposal entirely. The immigration issue will then be used like a club against Republicans in 2014 by our ever duplicitous president who will claim that Rubio and the Republicans in Congress are simply immigration knuckledraggers who oppose his so-called “common sense” reform.While interviewing Rubio on his show on Tuesday, Mark Levin made the following observation-
“I feel if you are get most of what you’re are proposing in actual legislation…you really have three layers of security built into this, national security, economic security…I don’t think Obama’s going to let you do this, but what you’re proposing…. is actually more conservative than the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill that my hero, my former boss Ronald Reagan signed.” – Mark Levin