Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will reportedly go “all-in” to support the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will allow illegal immigrants to potentially apply for citizenship in 13 years.
Conservatives believe the immigration reforms should be dealt with in a piece-by-piece manner and focus on border security first. They are concerned legislators are trying to ram through a 1,500 page bill before Americans find out what is really in it, similar to how Obamacare was passed.
Rosemary Jenks, of Numbers USA, recently told Breitbart news that giving amnesty to illegal immigrants will only create more Democrat voters, add to the country’s mounting debt, and potentially give terrorists new identities.
Rubio’s allies told Politico they hope his immigration gambit will propel him to the front of the GOP presidential field in 2016.
According to the publication, Rubio, a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” along with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, has “launched a lobbying campaign to convince conservatives that the plan will be tough on the border.” He has also tried to “assuage GOP concerns over the pathway to citizenship” that would eventually be offered to the country’s illegal immigrants. Rubio will try to make the text of the bill available for a month.
According to Politico, Rubio will become the bill’s “most prominent salesman” by “effectively putting his political capital” on the line by trying to persuade mainstream media, Republican, conservative, and Spanish-language hosts, influencers, and outlets of its merits.
Rubio will appear on seven Sunday shows this weekend. He has reportedly pitched the comprehensive immigration reform proposal to conservative publications like the Wall Street Journal, which has viewed comprehensive immigration reform favorably, and National Review.
He will also try to hold his own public hearing process so senators can question experts about the plan and “allow the legislative text to be available for about four weeks,” which means committee votes will not be taken until May.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said it would be easier to break up the bill into segments instead of a 1,500-page bill. He said he told Rubio there was “no reason” to “lump everything” in an “all or nothing” bill.
Rubio had reportedly advocated Lee’s approach before deciding to join the “Gang of Eight” to support a “more comprehensive” approach.
Rubio indicated he would stay with the “Gang of Eight” in opposing amendments that would drastically alter the bill. He said he would “argue against” amendments specifically designed to kill the bill, but also noted he could be open to “any amendments or any ideas that make the bill better that actually improve the product.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the “Gang of Eight,” said that the group’s goal was to “produce a bill that we stand by and to vote in a united fashion against amendments which would destroy the balance.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would be surprised if Rubio deviated from the group, noting that the two senators “pretty much” thought the same on immigration issues.
“If he gets off, I’d be surprised,” Graham said Thursday. “And if he got off, I’d be surprised if I stayed because we think pretty much the same.”