Marco Rubio Continues Defending Gang of Eight Bill: It ‘Was Not Amnesty’

In a Tuesday evening interview with Special Report host Bret Baier, Marco Rubio defended his support for the Gang of Eight immigration bill–declaring that the Obama-backed legislation was not amnesty.

When asked about his support for the Gang of Eight bill, Rubio told Baier, “First off, I do not support amnesty, and I never have. I have always believed there has to be real consequences for violating our immigration laws.”

Baier followed up–pointing out that in 2010, Rubio campaigned against amnesty to win his seat in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, in 2010–despite his push to give illegal aliens discounted college tuition and reportedly helping to stop a bill to block sanctuary cities–Rubio was unequivocal in pledging to oppose amnesty. In fact, during his 2010 campaign, Rubio was clear in his definition of amnesty, declaring that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty.” Moreover, Rubio specifically attacked his opponent Charlie Crist for Crist’s support of the DREAM Act. Rubio also called for illegal immigrants to “leave this country” and “return to their homeland”–a position which helped Rubio get elected at the time, but which, ironically, Rubio is now attacking Trump for today.

Rubio tried to brush aside that record, telling Baier,”Yeah, but in 2010, that was in the context of the McCain [bill], another bill that [had] been filed in 2006, which basically was a real fast path, to not just legalization, but to citizenship.”

Neither Rubio nor Baier mentioned that Rubio’s new bill–which Rubio crafted with Sen. McCain–similarly included a “real fast path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The first group of illegal immigrants–who, in the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer, would have been legalized “on day one” of the bill’s enactment–would get American citizenship in five years, and would be able to bring their parents, children, and relatives into the country, as well.

What is perhaps most peculiar, however, is Rubio’s claim that supporting the Gang of Eight bill did not amount to supporting amnesty. By this logic, if his bill was not amnesty, then everyone who backed Rubio’s bill apparently did not support amnesty, either. Under Rubio’s theory, this would mean that Luis Gutierrez, Nancy Pelosi, President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, La Raza, Mark Zuckerberg, and George Soros did not support amnesty. Nor did all the Senate Democrats, who unanimously supported the bill. Moreover, under Sen. Rubio’s theory, every single Republican who campaigned in the 2014 midterm elections against the Gang of Eight bill and called it amnesty–such as Sen. Tom Cotton–were lying to their constituents.

Rubio’s argument that the Gang of Eight bill was not amnesty seems grounded in his claim that there are “real consequences” for those who violated our immigration laws, but a review of the substance of Gang of Eight reveals that the consequences are for American citizens–not illegal immigrants. For instance, the Gang of Eight, according to Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector, would have cost the U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion in government benefits and entitlements, it would have given illegal aliens work permits to take any U.S. job, it would have legalized criminal alien sex offenders and gang members, it would have allowed illegal immigrants to bring their relatives into the country, and it would have allowed previously deported immigrants to return to America and become U.S. citizens.