On Thursday, RedState Editor Erick Erickson published a scathing editorial on Sen. Marco Rubio and his push for the Senate immigration bill. Erickson has been a vocal supporter of Rubio, even back when he was challenging then-Gov. Charlie Crist for the GOP Senate nomination. Erickson reviews the landscape of the current immigration bill, though, and asks of Rubio: “Is he being played or is he playing us?”
The current immigration bill under consideration in the Senate could only have come from the mind of someone like Sen. Chuck Schumer. It provides immediate amnesty while making a promise of border security at some point in the future. The plan for the border in the bill is long on plans, reports, and commissions, but woefully short of any actual requirements or mandates. In some cases, the enforcements mechanisms in the bill are even weaker than current law.
Sens. Grassley, Cornyn, and others are preparing amendments that would tighten the border security provisions in the bill. Sens. Reid and McCain have called such amendments “poison pills” to immigration reform. Sources on Capitol Hill have told Breitbart News that Rubio and other Gang negotiators are actively lobbying against the Cornyn amendment. The GOP Gang members teamed up with Democrats to kill a Grassley amendment on border security before it could even be debated.
The problems in the Schumer bill that Rubio is promoting go far beyond the border provisions, though. It makes about three million illegals eligible for citizenship in just five years, not the 10-13 that supporters like Rubio have claimed. The bill also gives unelected bureaucrats unbelievably wide discretion to interpret and implement the law. A member of a criminal gang is barred from legalization, for example, unless a bureaucrat waives that prohibition. There are hundreds of such waivers scattered throughout the bill.
We absolutely have to reform our immigration system. It is arbitrary, capricious, and broken. We also have to find a way to legalize the 11-12 million current illegals already in this country. We are not a country that will conduct mass deportations and even Romney’s inane plan for “self-deportation” would split apart millions of families. It is not a realistic option.
We absolutely must not, however, let Chuck Schumer dictate our immigration policy. Rubio and his GOP colleagues in the Gang have fallen into a false choice. For them, we either accept Schumer’s legislation or we don’t have immigration reform. Schumer’s plan, however, arguably makes our immigration system worse.
As the 1,000+ page bill gets its full debate in the Senate, supporters like Rubio seem increasingly, and embarrassingly, surprised by what’s actually in the legislation. Rubio’s first amendment to the bill would mandate that those on the path to citizenship learn English, something he claimed was in the bill from the beginning. The bill, it turns out, contains a loophole that weakens current law and doesn’t require learning English.
Rubio has also joined with Sen. Hatch to tighten provisions to ensure newly legalized immigrants don’t qualify for welfare benefits. That too is something Rubio said from the beginning was part of the bill. The need for an amendment is evidence that it wasn’t. The simple fact that Rubio is scrambling to amend his own bill suggests he is only now becoming familiar with its contents.
So, I’m with Erickson. Sen. Rubio, are you being played or are you playing us?