President Barack Obama’s White House appears to be meddling in the writing of specific legislation with regard to immigration reform, a sign that the so-called bipartisan “Gang of Eight” is not developing ideas on its own.
“The president will continue to be out there, urging action on comprehensive immigration reform, making clear what his principles and priorities are,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday. “We will continue to work with legislators in the process of both drafting and then pushing for legislation.”
Carney’s comment that the White House was working with Congress on “drafting and then pushing for legislation” came a day after New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer backtracked on an agreement the bipartisan group had made as early as January when it comes to border security.
“So look, we’ve come to a basic agreement, which is that first, people will be legalized,” Schumer said on Meet the Press on Sunday. “In other words, not citizens, but they’ll be allowed to work, come out of the shadows, travel. Then, we will make sure the border is secure.”
Originally, all eight senators had agreed that border security would come first and act as a “trigger” for any pathway to citizenship agreements in an immigration reform package.
Rubio made that requirement for any deal clear again in a Saturday letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy asking for a transparent and open immigration reform process, rather than a rushed bill like Leahy has said he wants to do.
“A key feature of our bipartisan approach has been an insistence on meeting border security and other enforcement triggers before unauthorized immigrants can apply for permanent residence,” Rubio wrote.
Rubio’s spokesman Alex Conant did not return a request for comment or details on the extent of the Obama White House’s purported interaction with senators from the bipartisan Gang, including him.
But a Republican Senate aide told Breitbart News that it is not surprising to hear reports of such White House interference in congressional deliberations. “Can anyone honestly believe that Schumer and the White House are not colluding behind the scenes?” the GOP Senate aide said. “The suspension of disbelief can only be taken so far.”
The Washington Post has already indicated that Rubio may “walk away from” immigration reform deliberations altogether, noting that he “has, in recent weeks, built himself a very clear escape hatch” from the process, “he can just say Democrats rushed it, or didn’t allow enough amendments.”
“If Rubio ever needs to bolt, you can already see the reason he’ll give,” the Post’s Evan Soltas wrote. “It was Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), in the cloakroom, with the calendar.”
With reports out now that the supposed compromise between the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, who purported to represent the U.S. business and labor communities respectively, involves a “prevailing wage” standard for low-skilled workers, and border security concerns cropping up again, Rubio could very well run away from the team pushing immigration reform.