The Inevitable: Rubio Walks Away from Immigration

Published on July 17th, 2013

On April 10, the day of the illegal aliens’ Gran Marcha, I was in Senator Marco Rubio’s Washington D.C. office to meet with two of his immigration aides. CAPS had launched an aggressive Florida advertising campaign to draw attention to the damage that the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, at the time being secretly drafted, would have on Florida’s unemployed. Florida’s U-6 unemployment rate is 20.6 percent, the nation’s 15th highest.

Hoping not to sound presumptuous, I told the aides that I could see no way that Senator Rubio could escape being politically injured, if not mortally wounded, because of his leadership role the Senate's legislation. If the bill succeeded, Rubio would be forever linked with liberal Democrats Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet. Rubio would be viewed as a traitor to his party and his conservative base that elected him. As a result, Rubio would be the likely target of a 2016 primary challenge.

His opponent could use Rubio’s infamous quote about amnesty that he made on the 2009 campaign trail:

      “I would vote against anything that grants amnesty because I think it destroys your ability to enforce the existing law and I think it’s unfair to the people who are standing in line and waiting to come in legally. I would vote against anything that has amnesty in it.”

If however the bill failed, Rubio would not only lose his base but he would be perceived as a politician who over-reached and failed but aligned himself with the Democrat’s most liberal faction to stay in the national spotlight.

S.744 passed the Senate in June, mainly because of a last minute, hastily written amendment added by Senators John Hoeven and Bob Corker that falsely promises to secure the border. Since then, no Gang of Eight member has been more pounded on than Rubio who, during its drafting, was the bill’s most visible cheerleader. The other seven including the four above-named Democrats and Republicans John McCain, Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham have long, well-established histories of immigration advocacy. Rubio, trying to trade on his credibility, failed miserably and disappointed legions of his supporters.

The House has refused to take up S. 744 and piecemeal immigration legislation is stalled, at least temporarily. Immigration, the issue that Rubio had hoped would launch his White House bid, is in danger of dying on the vine.

To restart his floundering political future and with one eye on fast-rising popular conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rubio will take a “hiatus” from immigration. Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cardenas predicted that:

"He'll reappear and help get this [S.744] done in the homestretch, and he'll be known as a key player in major legislation."

In the meantime, while the immigration storms are raging, Rubio will focus on beating back the Affordable Care Act and reducing the federal deficit. [Marco Rubio Turns Away from Immigration, by Beth Reinhard, National Journal, July 16, 2013]

Rubio’s shift in direction may be all well and good. But for advocates of true immigration reform—securing the border immediately, ending anchor baby citizenship, eliminating the Diversity Visa and mandating E-Verify, Rubio will never recover from his treachery.

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