In a recent interview with popular, nationally-syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity, Marco Rubio misrepresented his position on curbing migration from jihadist countries.
During Monday’s interview, Hannity pressed Rubio on why he voted against Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment last Thursday to pause immigration from more than 30 Muslim nations with jihadist movements. Rubio claimed he did so because Paul’s amendment would delay the travel plans of tourists— such as those seeking to go to Disneyland— by 30 days. Rubio said that had the amendment been simply limited to pausing immigration from those thirty countries, the amendment “would have had a lot of support, including mine.”
However, Rubio’s declaration that he would have voted to curb Muslim immigration runs contrary to a voting record which reveals the exact opposite. Indeed, Rubio’s two signature immigration proposals—the Obama-backed Gang of Eight bill and the Zuckerberg-backed I-Squared bill–would both substantially increase Muslim immigration. Moreover, even after the Paris attacks, Rubio expressed his desire to admit Syrian refugees. All admissions of Syrian refugees would be additional to the admission of the existing inflow of tens of thousands of refugees and asylees.
In fact, in an earlier Hannity interview, Rubio said he’d “hate to use'”the funding bill to block Obama’s plan to expand Muslim refugee resettlement, saying that, “You’d hate to use that [i.e. the funding mechanisms] because it would impact all refugees if you did it that way.”
In Monday’s interview, Rubio told Hannity:
[Senator Paul’s amendment] basically suspended all visa waiver travel, from anywhere in the world, and I think that’s a step too far. I mean, you’re talking about somebody’s coming from Germany to go to vacation at Disney World, they literally would not have been able to come, because it put a 30-day suspension on all visa waiver travel from everywhere, from every country. So, it didn’t need to go that far. But, the elements of it that would have limited to those countries, I think would have had a lot of support, including mine.
Rubio’s suggestion that he would have supported Paul’s amendment to curb Muslim immigration runs counter to his votes and statements in which he has indicated clear support for large-scale immigration from Muslim nations with jihadist populations.
The 2013 immigration bill Rubio co-authored with Chuck Schumer would have allowed large expansions in Muslim immigration. In 2013, the U.S. issued about 280,000 visas to Muslim migrants. This figure includes temporary guest-worker and student visas as well as green cards. Had Rubio’s immigration bill gone into effect, the bill would have tripled the nation’s issuance of all green cards over the next decade and would have doubled the nation’s distribution of guest-worker visas. The bill would have also expanded opportunities for Muslim refugees to enter the United States.
As the Federation For American Immigration Reform explained in its analysis at the time: “Title III Subtitle D of S.744 [the Rubio-Schumer bill] undermines current asylum and refugee law by eliminating preexisting requirements aliens apply for asylum within a certain time frame of entering the U.S., allowing asylum officers to bypass immigration judges before granting asylum to unlawful aliens, and giving broad authority to the Administration to create new categories of refugees and stateless persons to be admitted into the country.”
Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz explained that Rubio’s “bill would have created endless avenues for this president to bring in an unlimited numbers of Islamic immigrants from the most volatile corners of the world.”
Yet Rubio, only 16 days ago, said he stood by the provision in his Pelosi-backed immigration plan, telling The Guardian that his 2013 bill would “strengthen the refugee program.”
Rubio’s tendency to deliver one message on conservative talk radio while doing the opposite legislatively is not new.
For instance, in 2013 Rubio told told Sean Hannity that his La Raza-backed bill would not grant amnesty until the border is secure. Rubio said: “I don’t think any of that [amnesty] begins until we certify that the border security progress has been real. That a workplace enforcement mechanism is in place. That we are tracking visitors to our country, especially when they exit.” Rubio told Rush Limbaugh that if that were not the case, he’d vote against his own bill. Rubio said: “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.”
However, Chuck Schumer made clear that the bill would grant amnesty to the illegal population “on day one.” Rubio later disclosed this truth himself in a Spanish language interview, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York exposed. “Let’s be clear,” Rubio said in a Univision interview. “Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”
At the time, the National Review documented many of Rubio’s misrepresentations about his bill and his positions:
[Rubio] has supposedly discovered that the enforcement provisions are inadequate, although he has done countless interviews touting that the bill contains the ‘toughest immigration-enforcement measures in the history of United States’ (which is what his website still says). At the same time, Rubio declares the bill 95–96 percent perfect.
In 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Union President Chris Crane accused Rubio of having “directly misled law enforcement officers.” Crane said “Sen. Rubio left unchanged legislative provisions that he himself admitted to us in private were detrimental, flawed and must be changed.”
Donald Trump recently told Breitbart News, “Senator Rubio is incapable of telling the truth. He should be disqualified for dishonesty alone.”