In a Friday article, Beth Reinhard of the politically neutral and universally respected National Journal called Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “a career politician” who has only “pitched himself as a man of the people” in his attempt to win public support for the bill he, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and six of their colleagues drafted.
The National Journal piece contrasts Rubio with Tea Party “hero” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who Reinhard notes “was initially involved in immigration talks but walked away from the bipartisan group of eight senators leading the charge in January.” Lee is now one of the bill’s biggest critics, and has heavily questioned the amount of authority the Schumer-Rubio bill hands over to the Department of Homeland Security and executive branch in general.
The National Journal article focused on the Florida senator’s attempts to sell the Schumer-Rubio bill to the conservative base, and his efforts to fend off the notion that the bill is nothing more than a handout to special interests on K-Street in Washington.
“While the most common criticism of the bill is that allowing illegal immigrants to earn citizenship amounts to amnesty, Rubio’s rebuttal points to another high hurdle: quashing mounting concerns that the bill was written by and for special interests,” Reinhard wrote in her piece. “Reinforcing that perception is the fact that some of the loudest pro-reform voices are members of the political, business, and religious establishment, while opposition is more common among the grassroots.”
Reinhard quoted several critics of the bill, including the Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian and NumbersUSA spokeswoman Rosemary Jenks, who each pointed out how special interest groups had more of a hand in writing the bill than others. “Immigration, broadly speaking, pits the elite versus the public as much as the Right against the Left,” Krikorian said. “It’s the church hierarchies versus the people in the pews, the union organizations as opposed to the union members, big business as opposed to small business. It’s no surprise that the Republicans supporting this thing are the ones with ties to the Chamber of Commerce, not ordinary voters.”
“The only people in the room behind closed doors was congressional staff, big business, big labor, Silicon Valley, and a whole long line of special-interest groups,” Jenks added. “It’s very clear this bill wasn’t written to serve national interests but special interests, including the senators’ own special interests, with absolutely zero regard for unemployed American workers and taxpayers.”
While those special interest groups were involved in writing the legislation, the law enforcement community was by and large kept away from the process. Since the immigration bill was released a couple weeks ago, Rubio has tried unsuccessfully to quash concerns that he and his group did not incorporate law enforcement recommendations in the bill.
Republican proponents of the Schumer-Rubio bill apparently framed polling questions in such a way that inaccurately described the bill to elicit a favorable view of the legislation from the GOP base.