Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Encourages Conservatives to Give Rubio Chance to Implement Immigration Agenda

Molly Riley/AP
Molly Riley/AP

In what some may consider a surprising move, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin suggested that conservatives should consider welcoming Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) back into the fold despite his joining Sen. Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama to push immigration past the highest levels ever recorded in American history.

Rubio’s bill, which was also endorsed by La Raza and Mark Zuckerberg, would issue seven times more green cards (30 million) than Ted Kennedy’s original 1965 legislation (4.1 million) that turned much of America blue.

In an op-ed in USA Today, Martin suggested that Sen. Rubio had somehow changed his position on immigration:

Sen. Marco Rubio famously worked with the so-called Gang of 8 to develop an immigration reform bill that offered a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.; now he says he understands and shares the concerns of the broad majority of the American people, who believe that before any discussion of what to do about illegal immigrants can take place, the border must first be secured — and must be secured long enough, and well enough, that the American people believe it has been well and truly secured.

However, a review of Rubio’s public statements, comments, and legislative actions since the Gang of Eight bill failed in the House reveals the opposite — Rubio has not changed a single one of his policy positions on immigration.

In fact, he has even made clear that if elected president or vice president, he would push every single immigration policy favored by business groups like the Chamber of Commerce.

For instance, as recently as last week at a New Hampshire presidential candidates forum, Marco Rubio endorsed immediately legalizing illegal aliens and potentially granting them green cards that would put them on a pathway to citizenship, which would confer voting privileges, the ability to bring family members in to the country, and access to welfare and federal benefits.

Martin asserts that Rubio now “understands and shares the concerns” of the American people regarding border security; however, Rubio’s verbal assurances on border security are nothing new. In fact, the strongest statement Rubio has issued with regards to border security came during the Gang of Eight push, in which he called the bill, “The Toughest Border Security & Enforcement Measures In U.S. History”–  a claim which, to this day, he has never retracted.

Indeed, throughout his entire push to sell the Gang of Eight bill, Rubio maintained that border security was his top priority. As he promised talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, he would not support the bill unless enforcement measures preceded amnesty: “If there is not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else will happen unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place, I won’t support it.”

And yet, even after he subsequently admitted in a Spanish interview on Univision that amnesty would come before enforcement, Rubio still voted for the bill.

Rubio’s recent comments calling for the implementation of e-verify, border fencing, and visa tracking are also not new. For instance, during Gang of Eight immigration debate, Rubio argued that those provisions were the main reason to support the bill. He warned that if Congress refused to act and refused to pass the bill, then “we’re not going to have the fencing… we’re not going to have e-verify, we’re not going to have entry-exit tracking.”

Yet when the bill came to the floor, Sen. Rubio joined Chuck Schumer in voting down an amendment offered by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) which would have required the completion of a double-layer border fence. He also successfully defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) which would require the implementation of an exit-entry tracking system in order to prevent foreign nationals from illegally overstaying their visas. And an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley—which would have required e-verify be implemented within 18 months—was killed in committee and was, therefore, not present in the bill Rubio pushed successfully through the Senate.

Rubio’s legislative actions after the Gang of Eight bill similarly creates tension with his public statements on his immigration position. For instance, despite his continued public comments about border security, the only new immigration plan that he has co-authored and introduced since the Gang of Eight’s demise is a massive expansion of a foreign workers program. The Immigration and Innovation Act, known as I-Squared — which is backed by the same corporate CEOs and wealthy donors who backed his Gang of Eight plan — would triple the number of wage-cutting H-1B visas for big tech and would substantially increase immigration from high risk regions in the Middle East, without implementing any corresponding security or tracking measures.

Together these items demonstrate that far from flip-flopping on immigration, Rubio’s position has simply remained unchanged — it’s the same as it was in 2013, as it was in 2014, as it is today: he still supports citizenship for illegal immigrants, he still supports doubling and tripling expansions in foreign workers admitted to the country on visas, and he still supports a green card policy that would push immigration levels past all known historical records.

Indeed, in the first Republican presidential candidates debate, Rubio made another veiled reference to his plan to increase immigration — insisting that the people who don’t get enough attention and “who never ge[t] talked about in these debates” are the foreign citizens “who have been waiting for 15 years to come to the United States.”

However, the United States — far from being difficult to get into — each year admits one million plus foreign nationals on green cards, one million foreign workers, refugees and dependents, and half a million foreign youths sought by college administrators.

The irony perhaps is that conservative activists and publications including, for instance, the National Review, are in effect accepting an apology from Mr. Rubio, which he has never given. Rubio has never acknowledged any wrong doing in pushing the Gang of Eight bill, nor he has ever admitted that any of the multitudinous claims he made about it were false, nor has he retreated from any of the policy positions that characterized that effort.

In fact, as recently as just four months ago, Marco Rubio told Chris Wallace that “it’s not that we bailed [on the Gang of Eight bill]. It’s that we don’t have the votes to pass it… I still believe we need to do immigration reform.”

If Sen. Rubio had been president instead of Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would have had no difficulty getting the Gang of Eight bill through the House and onto President Rubio’s desk for signature.

So far, at this point in the race, Rubio’s policy positions on immigration have not been fleshed out to the American voter. At the Republican presidential candidates debate moderated by Fox, for instance, Rubio was asked the following questions:

“[Why are you] better prepared to be president than he [Jeb Bush] is?”

[On immigration] “Is it as simple as our leaders are stupid, their leaders are smart, and all of these illegals coming over are criminals?”

“Why is Governor Bush wrong on Common Core?”

“Describe one action you would do to make the economic environment more favorable for small businesses and entrepreneurs and anyone dreaming of opening their own business.”

“How do you justify ending a life just because it begins violently, through no fault of the baby?”

“So I put the question to you about God and the veterans, which you may find to be related.”

Rubio kept his answers vague, optimistic, and focused on the future: “God has blessed our country. This country has been extraordinarily blessed. And we have honored that blessing. And that’s why God has continued to bless us.”

UPDATE: Click to read Jenny Beth Martin’s response to this post titled In Defense of a Changed Mind.


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