With just one day left before the Iowa Caucus, donor-class favorite Marco Rubio remains unwilling to repudiate the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill, which conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly has described as “anti-American” and “dangerous.”
In a Sunday morning interview, Meet The Press host Chuck Todd pressed Rubio specifically on why he won’t “repudiate” his 2013 immigration expansion bill, which he co-authored with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Instead of rejecting the bill’s policies, Rubio defended proposal, which would have tripled green card dispensations, doubled foreign workers visa-issuances, granted amnesty to the illegal immigrant population and gutted interior enforcement. Rubio explained that his La Raza-backed bill was “the best that could be done” at the time to “fix our immigration laws.”
The Gang of Eight was a bill that was, that was dealt with three years ago. It was an effort to fix our immigration laws. It was the best that could be done in a Senate that was controlled by [Democratic Sen.] Harry Reid at the time. And then the hope was that the House would take it up and make it better. But it was a way to start that.
Rubio did not explain why a bill supported unanimously by Senate Democrats, the White House, nearly every House Democrat, and nearly every progressive open borders group, was the “best” outcome for Republicans.
Polling shows a supermajority of Republicans want immigration paused or slashed; Rubio’s bill would have taken existing record immigration levels and surged them to even greater extremes.
Rubio’s argument that his bill “was the best that could be done” also raises the question of why the Senate progressives who opposed the 2007 McCain-Kennedy bill unanimously supported Rubio’s 2013 version.
Moreover, Rubio’s declaration that his bill “was the best that could be done” comes on heels of the admission from Rubio’s key spokesman that the Gang of Eight bill did not actually “secure the borders first.”
Reports from The New Yorker, National Review, The Washington Post and many others have all suggested that the reason Rubio’s progressive bill was able to pass the Senate— where McCain and Kennedy’s bill failed— was because Sen. Rubio lent his name and his face to be the spokesman of the bill. In other words, Rubio’s involvement enabled a more progressive outcome. As Democratic Senator Bob Menendez told The New Yorker, Rubio was essential to the Gang of Eight, as it was his job to “neutralize” the opposition of conservative opinion makers and in some cases “proselytize them” to push Obama’s progressive bill through the Senate.
Chuck Todd seemed aware of the key role immigration will play in deciding this primary election. As Todd tweeted during Thursday night’s presidential debate: “Immigration may be THE decisive issue for many primary voters and yet tonight’s debate muddled it for everyone, esp Cruz & Rubio.”
After the FOX-moderated debate “muddled” the immigration issue, the network featured a focus group led by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, which declared Marco Rubio the victor of that night’s debate. As Breitbart’s Patrick Howley subsequently reported, Luntz had actually been on Rubio’s payroll at one time: “Fox News used a pollster to host a pro-Sen. Marco Rubio focus group after Thursday night’s Republican debate, despite the fact that the pollster actually had Rubio as a client… Rubio hired Luntz to work on a document called ‘100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future.’ Fox News did not disclose Luntz’s past business relationship with Rubio Thursday night.”
Todd pressed Rubio on why he won’t repudiate his 2013 Obama-backed immigration bill. Todd said: “I’ve had a lot of Republicans in Iowa that I’ve talked to who really like you. And then they say, ‘Why won’t he repudiate the Gang of Eight?'”
While Rubio told Todd “that’s not going to be the law that we’re going to pass when I’m president,” this is merely a semantic distinction. Because Rubio is pushing all of the same policies outlined in his 2013 plan, a President Rubio would presumably just come up with a new name for the same plan.
Indeed, Rubio continues to support every substantial policy outlined in his 2013 bill— including granting citizenship (and, thereby, welfare access and voting privileges) to illegal immigrants, increasing guest worker visas, expanding refugee resettlement, and allowing the foreign-born population to surge beyond all known historical precedent.
When Todd asked Rubio, “do you regret ever being involved” in the bill, Rubio explained that he did not:
“Look, I tried to fix the problem. This is a real problem. And where are we today? We are worse off today than we were five years ago. We have more illegal immigrants here. We have two unconstitutional executive orders on amnesty. I went on— to Washington to fix a problem.”
In today’s interview, Todd showed a willingness to challenge Rubio on critical questions that many professional conservatives are trying to overlook. For instance, during the Gang of Eight fight, National Review published article after article documenting Rubio’s repeated misrepresentations to conservatives about the contents of his 1,200 page bill. Yet, today many of the writers at the National Review seems eager to ignore Rubio’s immigration position.
During the debate National Review editor Rich Lowry tweeted, “Rubio’s fine on immigration so long as he doesn’t have to talk about his Gang of 8 past.”
The suggestion seems to be that Rubio’s talking points are great on immigration, so long as voters don’t look at his actual record, nor contemplate the immigration system Rubio actually wanted America to have. Lowry did not mention the fact that Rubio’s current talking points on immigration are virtually indistinguishable to the talking points he used during the Gang of Eight fight.
A few months ago, Breitbart News reached out to Lowry and asked if “Sen. Rubio ever apologized to National Review for repeatedly misrepresenting the contents of his Obama-backed immigration bill”— a bill which to this day the Senator does not repudiate.
Lowry did not answer.
While today many National Review writers assure readers that Rubio “is plenty conservative,” in 2004 Rich Lowry explained that the expansive immigration policies– now championed by Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio– will bring about the death of the conservative movement.
“Outside the merits of the immigration issue– its costs, its implications for security and national cohesion– the partisan dynamic is clear: Higher levels of Latin American immigration benefit the Democrats, while digging an ever-deeper demographic hole for Republicans. Pro-immigration conservatives fool themselves into believing that being pro-immigration will make it possible for the GOP to convert large numbers of Hispanic voters to their side. This is a party strategy that could have been crafted in Oregon, since it amounts to a kind of partisan assisted suicide.”
Under current visa laws, the U.S. will permanently resettle eight new immigrants every single year for every one GOP caucus-goer in Iowa. Less than 10 percent of green cards now go to Europe, which shares a common heritage with America; about 9 in 10 green cards go to non-Western countries like El Salvador, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Rubio’s bill would have tripled the number of new permanent immigrants over the next ten years, on top of the 59 million immigrants the U.S. has admitted since the Kennedy-backed immigration rewrite in 1965.