Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva said Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s remarks indicating that an immigration reform deal has not yet been met are “obviously a little of concern” to him.
“He’s been in this process from the beginning,” Grijalva said in a Monday appearance on MSNBC. “Early on, he [Rubio] was initiating his own comprehensive reform package then joined the other senators in a bipartisan effort and there has been some expectation that come next week that we will have a rollout, that we’ll have a piece of legislation and concepts that we can go forward with. Hearings will start in Judiciary and the process, regular order, will begin in the Senate. I think that’s very key.”
“The backtracking and maybe cold feet on the part of Senator Rubio is of concern to me,” Grijalva added. “It’s of concern to advocates. He is pivotal and if he withdraws support or starts talking about piecemeal or slowing it down, then the fight I think, the whole struggle is going to intensify.”
Rubio dissented from the rest of the so-called bipartisan “Gang of Eight” U.S. Senators pushing immigration reform on Saturday to join every one of his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, except for “Gang” members Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake, to call for an open and transparent immigration reform process. Rubio and all those GOP committee members are asking the committee’s chairman, Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, to hold more hearings and open, public markups before any immigration reform legislative package is rushed through the Senate. Leahy has said he wants to rush the bill through when Congress returns from recess next week, and thinks there have already been enough hearings on the matter.
Then on Sunday, Rubio contradicted New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, another “Gang” member, in public remarks on the proximity of a grand compromise. “It is not a done deal,” Schumer told ABC News. “We have to draft the legislation. We have to have the group of eight sign off on the specific language, but we have substantive agreement on all the major pieces now between the eight of us.”
Schumer’s comments came on the heels of reports that some in the business community had reached a deal with some in the labor union community. But Rubio said in a Sunday morning statement that while he’s “encouraged” by the reports of that business-labor deal, “reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature.”
Another major hurdle that has not been overcome is how any proposal would deal with border security. New reports on Monday indicate that, contrary to what Democrats and President Barack Obama’s administration might say, the border is not secure. Townhall’s Katie Pavlich uncovered that the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border into this country since immigration reform talks began have dramatically increased and the Associated Press found that Mexican drug cartel operatives have begun operating inside the United States like never before.
Grijalva said in his MSNBC appearance that “enforcement is going to be part of the equation.”
“I understand the political necessity for that for a compromise,” he said. “I don’t understand the reality of it in terms of ‘do we really need to do that?’ What are going to be the benchmarks? What is going to be the role of this ‘advisory commission’ in the process?”
WATCH: Rep. Grijalva on MSNBC: