Under Fire For Shunning Immigration Enforcement, Rubio Scrambles To Back Immigration Bill

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate for president after his mentor Jeb Bush began sliding significantly in the polls, is now—for the first time since co-authoring the Gang of Eight amnesty bill two years ago—backing an immigration enforcement bill in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio’s support for an immigration enforcement bill, however, comes only after Breitbart News exposed that following the collapse of his Gang of Eight plan, Rubio shunned conservative attempts to crack down on immigration. For more than two years after narrowly failing to pass his Obama-backed immigration expansion, Rubio refused to sponsor or cosponsor a single immigration enforcement bill.

Politico is now reporting that after Breitbart News caught Rubio publicly misrepresenting his position on immigration—i.e. claiming that he was concerned about securing the border while eschewing all of his colleague’s efforts to actually do so— Rubio’s staff hurriedly attached his name to a sanctuary city bill.

Politico writes:

“Rubio, now vying for the Republican presidential nomination, was an author of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013…Rubio has come under pressure recently from the conservative news outlet Breitbart for not yet sponsoring legislation to crack down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.”

Politico’s top immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, tweeted:

“Interesting: Rubio co-sponsors new Vitter immigration bill cracking down on sanctuary cities. Rubio under fire from Breitbart on issue.”

After his activities were exposed by Breitbart News’ exclusive report, Rubio cosponsored the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act,” introduced by Senator David Vitter and backed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

As Breitbart News has previously reported, Rubio continues to support all of the policies outlined in his Gang of Eight bill: from providing citizenship and welfare to illegal aliens, to expanding H-1B admissions, to surging green cards past all historical records. Both then and now, Rubio has continued to get caught verbally assuring conservatives that he cares about immigration security while his actions have undermined any actual efforts at immigration security.

For instance, despite claiming publicly to support a border fence and a visa tracking system, Rubio voted against an amendment to implement a visa tracking system and voted against an amendment to build a double-layer border fence. And then, even as he claimed publicly to be concerned about America’s ability to track people on visas, he offered legislation to triple H-1Bs, many of whom would arrive from Muslim countries.

Despite Rubio’s latest cosponsorship, a review of Congressional records indicates he has continued to fail to cosponsor all of his colleague’s myriad of bills to clamp down on immigration—including what is effectively the GOP’s official comprehensive interior enforcement bill put forward by Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Chairmen of the House and Senate Immigration Subcommittees. He has also failed to cosponsor the  Protecting American Lives Act sanctuary city bill, which is cosponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz and has the toughest provisions of the pending sanctuary cities plans.

Now that Rubio has signaled with his latest action that cosponsorships should be examined by voters, the fact that Rubio refused to cosponsor a sanctuary city bill during the height of the sanctuary city controversy— following the tragic murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco this summer—will presumably only raise more questions.  A conservative hill operative tells Breitbart News that the Republican donor class did not want take up a sanctuary city bill in the Senate over the summer because it would have put a bigger spotlight on the issue and thus would have helped Trump while hurting Rubio. Under this theory, the months-long delay was designed to sap momentum from the issue.

Interestingly, while Rubio did not cosponsor the sanctuary city bills after Kate Steinle was gunned down in broad daylight at her father’s side, Rubio did cosponsor a Democrat measure designed to encourage more refugees to enter the U.S. Rubio was the only Republican to join 20 Democrats in co-sponsoring this bill. Rubio was also only one of three Republicans to co-sponsor an ethnically-focused measure celebrating the growth in the United States’ Latin America population.

In a piece in New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait explains the game that Rubio is attempting to play by delivering for donors while trying to verbally woo conservatives. Chait straight forwardly states that, “Rubio has carved out a valuable niche in the Republican field as the candidate who will carry out the agenda of the party’s donor base, but who has the identity and communication skills to sell that agenda more effectively.”

This is reflected by Rubio’s three signature issues: expanding immigration past all historical precedent, implementing Obamatrade, and expanding foreign military intervention.

Chait explains that Rubio, while he holds identical positions to establishment Republicans, is more able to successfully conceal his views through scripted bromides.

Chait specifically focuses in on an interview Rubio did with CNBC’s John Hardwood in which Rubio was asked whether he disagrees with George W. Bush or Mitt Romney on any issue.

Before Chait’s brutal analysis of Rubio’s confused answer, Chait posted Rubio’s comments in full.

Rubio: “Well, we’re in a different era. For example, my policies are about taking free enterprise and limited government, but applying them to the unique challenges of the 21st century. So you’ll hear me spend a tremendous amount of time talking about higher-education reform. Our higher-education model is outdated. And I proposed concrete bipartisan ideas about how to fix some of those things. We’re in an era now of increased global competition where America no longer can put in place policies because we think ideologically it’s a good or bad idea. The fundamental question is does it make us competitive again. And on many of those issues, I’ve offered solutions and ideas that no Republican’s ever talked about before because they were not part of the 20th century debate.”

Chait then breaks down Rubio’s response:

“Rubio’s claim that his issues — actually, issue, singular, [education reform] is completely novel to anything considered by Bush or Romney because “they were not part of the 20th century debate.” The gambit here is to wall off any association between Rubio and previous Republican failures by drawing a line at the century mark, after which all intellectual continuities stop. The trouble with this little trick is that the Bush administration took place from 2001 to 2009. Romney ran for president in 2008 and 2012. All these things took place during the 21st century… Rubio is a George W. Bush Republican who needs to come up with nonsense concepts to deny the fact that he’s a George W. Bush Republican, like pretending his ideas don’t relate to Bush’s because they’re from different centuries. He can’t name a single actual disagreement with Bush or Romney because there aren’t any.”

This is not the only time Rubio has recently been called out by establishment media.

Following his CNBC interview, Rubio was pressed on his support of citizenship for illegal immigrants. In response, Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant— who once compared those who opposed amnesty to “slave owners”— tried to argue that the Gang of Eight policies, which Rubio still supports to this day, would not have constituted a “special pathway” to citizenship.

Conant tweeted: “Marco never supported special pathway. But… he thinks they should eventually be allowed to apply for green cards.”

A Green Card is a document issued by the federal government that allows a foreign citizen to become a lifetime resident of the U.S., apply for citizenship, bring family members into the country, and eventually collect welfare. Allowing an illegal immigrant to apply for a green card puts the illegal immigrant on a direct pathway to citizenship.

Conant’s response prompted incredulity from Politico’s Seung Min Kim, who tweeted:

“But the pathway in [Gang of Eight] bill is a ‘special’ pathway. So he never supported that provision in his own bill?”

Rubio has repeatedly made clear that he supports a pathway to citizenship for illegals—having personally crafted multiple pieces of legislation since arriving in Washington to do just that. As Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post wrote in July of this year, “Rubio has now left no doubt as to his position. Asked in New Hampshire if he supported a path to citizenship, he said, ‘I do.’”

Indeed, Marco Rubio has been one of the most aggressive boosters of immigration.

As fellow Gang of Eight Senator Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently told CNN, “If he [Rubio] were president, I think we would see good immigration reform.”

Immigration activists agree.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has said, “I believe he [Rubio] hasn’t changed at all in terms of his convictions, but he has changed in his political calculations he believes necessary to win the Republican nomination.”

As the Boston Globe reports, “Immigration advocates like [Javier] Palomarez [President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce] still view Rubio as an ally, someone who could achieve greater gains on the issue from the White House.”

Rubio has also recently been calling for more immigration from the Middle East.  Even after the Tsarnaev brothers— two Muslim Chechen refugees—carried out the Boston bombing in April of 2013, Rubio continued to press his Gang of Eight bill onward. When Iowa Congressman Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested that, in light of the attack, Congress should be skeptical about moving forward with an immigration expansion bill, Rubio struck back. “We should really be very cautious about using language that links these two things in any way,” Rubio declared. “We don’t know who carried it out or why they carried it out, and I would caution everyone to be very careful about linking the two.”

Even days after it had become public knowledge that the Boston Bombers had been refugees, Rubio continued to push for expanding immigration, tweeting:

“#BostonBombing not excuse 4 inaction on #immigrationreform.But disagree with Sen.Leahy,if it exposed flaws in system we need to know & fix.”

Despite claims that he wanted to “fix flaws” in the system, according to then-USCIS union president Ken Palinkas, “The USCIS Council was not consulted in the crafting of the Gang of Eight’s legislation… Instead, the legislation was written with special interests, producing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better. [The Gang of Eight bill] will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.”

The Gang of Eight bill would have substantially increased Muslim immigration and made it easier to bring refugees inside the United States.

Yet while conservative voters have not been persuaded by Rubio’s memorized campaign lines – i.e. he has not received a meaningful bump in the polls despite glowing praise from the media – the Washington Post reports that the media’s glowing coverage is likely to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, the more voters hear from the media how great Rubio is allegedly doing, the more likely they are to tell media pollsters they would support him.

The Washington Post writes:

“Here’s how the prophecy of Rubio’s future success becomes self-fulfilling. Members of the media decide that Rubio has a good chance of winning the nomination. Then they begin writing more stories about him. Those stories tend to be very positive… Voters see all this positive coverage, and begin thinking, ‘Gee, that Rubio fellow ispretty appealing.’ Donors see it and give him more money. Other Republican politicians see it and start thinking about whether it’s time to make their endorsement. Each tiny movement upward in the polls, no matter how small, reinforces the cycle and keeps propelling him upward.”


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