Marco Rubio Opposes Donald Trump’s Immigration Reform Plan

AP Photos
AP Photos

Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is formally opposed to Donald Trump’s popular immigration plan, which has won the accolades of conservatives and Democrats alike.

“The majority of it [Trump’s immigration proposal] is really not a workable plan that could ever pass Congress,” Rubio tells Bloomberg political reporter John McCormick. Rubio took particular issue with Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship. Rubio publicly affirmed his support for giving automatic citizenship to the children of illegal aliens, saying in response to Trump’s proposal: “I don’t agree [with] that…I’m not in favor of repealing it.”

It is perhaps not surprising that Rubio does not approve of Trump’s plan, which aims to return immigration to lower, more normal historical levels from today’s surging record highs. After all, the major immigration legislation Rubio has co-authored — both the 2013 Rubio-Schumer immigration and his new immigration bill, known as the I-Squared bill — would massively increase immigration at a time when tens of millions of Americans are out of the work.

In fact, Rubio’s I-Squared bill would triple the number of H-1B workers admitted into the country. The H-1B visa is a visa popular with corporations that allows companies to replace Americans tech workers with foreign workers who’ll accept lower salaries. This recently happened in Rubio’s home state of Florida, where Disney reportedly sacked 250 workers and forced them to train their H-1B replacements. Disney has endorsed Rubio’s I-Squared bill as its CEO sits on the board of the lobbying group pushing for its passage. Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration lobbying group has also called Rubio’s bill “our gold standard for high tech reform.”

Donald Trump has highlighted the contrast between his and Rubio’s plan on immigration in his newly released policy paper. While Trump’s plan aims to “improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program,” Trump writes, “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.”

Trump’s ideas are ppicking up steam. Several publications now say they should form the foundation of any GOP candidate’s immigration platform.

As the editors of National Review write:

[Trump’s immigration platform] is sensible in its basic outline and better in many respects than the ideas presented by his rivals. Trump grounds his policies in “three core principles” — that a nation should control its border, enforce its immigration laws, and put its own workers first — that are not only unobjectionable but should be the starting point of any reasonable immigration policy. How regrettable that until now, none of the candidates have articulated them in any systematic way… The rest of the Republican field would do well to take up Trump’s principles and supplement them with a fuller range of sensible policies.

And as Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard adds:

The Trump surge, and its intimate relationship to immigration, should be a lesson to the other candidates in the field… The best strategy is to co-opt his better ideas… It would be nice, at the very least, to see a candidate forthrightly pitch a good immigration policy as something that would benefit the vast majority of Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Polls show that vast majority of the American electorate, however, agree with Trump’s position on birthright citizenship. According to a 2011 Rasmussen Poll, 61 percent of likely U.S. voters oppose automatic birthright citizenship; only 28 percent of Americans disagreed.

The way birthright citizenship works is that when a pregnant illegal alien mother gives birth in this country, the child becomes a U.S. citizen. The mother, in turn, would be able to collect federal welfare on behalf of the child, and the child– as a U.S. citizen– would be able to legally petition for green cards for his or her foreign relatives to also come live and collect welfare inside the United States.

Trump’s position was once uncontroversial. In 1993 Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) delivered a speech on the Senate floor in which he said that “no sane country” would award automatic birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants: “If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides – and that’s a lot of services.”

Donald Trump’s immigration is overwhelmingly popular with the American electorate– but polling shows it will likely gain the Republican Party the most votes among women and minorities. This is because Trump’s economic immigration arguments resonate strongly with groups worried about jobs and wages, and most harmed by uncontrolled immigration. As data released earlier this month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals, all net job gains for women since the beginning of the recession have gone to foreign-born women. In this sense, all the consultant hand-wringing about Trump pushing away the women and minority voters– the very voters these corporate consultants have repulsed in the campaigns they ran– is contradicted by the polls. The polls show this is the GOP’s best chance of making gains with these groups.

A poll by KellyAnne Conway found that Hispanics, by nearly a seven to one ratio, want employers to hire workers already in the country rather than importing foreign workers to fill jobs. Black voters support this measure by a ratio of almost 30 to 1.

As Breitbart News reported in 2014, a poll commissioned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) found that when voters were asked whether they would support a Republican candidate who said, “Immigration policy needs to serve the interests of the nation as a whole, not a few billionaire CEOs and immigration activists lobbying for open borders,” “likely voters approved by a 71-16 margin. Women supported the sentiment 73-14, higher than men… Obama’s opponents supported it 82-12, but even Obama supporters gave it 61-21 nod. Liberals supported it 59-21. Most surprising, self-identified Hispanics supported it 66-21.”

When asked whether they support the statement that, “The first goal of immigration policy needs to be getting unemployed Americans back to work – not importing more low-wage workers to replace them,” the response amongst “likely voters [was] 70-18 in favor. Men: 67-20. Women: 73-17. Liberals: 54-29. Independents: 70-15. Whites: 72-16. Hispanics: 59-32.”

As Vox’s Ezra Klein wrote yesterday, Trump is resonating with Republican voters because he is willing to hold positions that Republican voters support, but are generally opposed by a handful of Republican Party leaders and donors:

Part of what makes Trump dangerous is that he’s willing to cater to the opinions of the Republican base in ways that the Republican establishment wouldn’t dare… When it comes to immigration — the one policy question on which everyone knows Trump’s stance — Republican voters prefer him to the other candidates… On free trade deals, Trump shares a skepticism held by about half of Republican voters, but that’s usually suppressed by the party’s powerful business wing… Trump isn’t beholden to the GOP for money, staff, power, or press attention. That frees him to take positions that Republican voters like but Republican Party elites loathe.

As The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote earlier this week, Donald Trump’s position on immigration is not outside of the mainstream at all:

A recent academic paper, by Stanford professor David Broockman and Berkeley Ph.D candidate Douglas Ahler, suggests a majority of the public’s views on immigration are closer to Trump’s than to the advocates of comprehensive immigration reform… If Broockman and Ahler are correct, a majority of Americans — not just Republican voters, but all Americans — hold views that are consistent with Trump’s position, or are even more restrictive.


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