Flashback: Rubio Claimed Gang Of Eight Was ‘Toughest’ Enforcement Plan In U.S. History

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., waves during the CBS News Re
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Marco Rubio has now developed yet another defense of his Gang of Eight immigration bill.

In 2013, Rubio promoted the immigration bill to the American people as the “toughest” enforcement plan in U.S. history, and blanketed the airwaves boasting its myriad of benefits.

However, in South Carolina these days, Rubio has introduced a novel explanation about how the Senate-passed bill was “not headed to becoming law”– a remarkable declaration from the bill’s chief salesman.

Rubio’s new defense of his work on the bill came in response to question from a voter, who seemed to have a concern about his involvement in the La Raza-championed legislation.

Yet Rubio answered the question as though he had no role in writing or promoting the bill– let alone being its chief national salesman.

Rubio assured voters that the “Senate immigration law” would “never become law,” and that this was one of his biggest complaints about it– i.e. that it could never become law.

Rubio also suggested that– even though at the time he was promoting it as the “toughest” enforcement plan in American history– he actually believed the “standards… [were] too low.”

Rubio said:

The Senate immigration law was not headed towards becoming law. Ideally, it was headed towards the House where conservatives members of the House were going to make it even better. It was the best we could do given the fact of who was running the Senate at the time, but it was never going to go from there to the President’s desk. And those were one of the things that I complained about. In fact, I was saying these standards are too low, it’ll never pass the House and it’ll never become law and on final passage we can’t do it… the Senate law is not going to be the way we confront this issue when I’m president.

There appeared to be a glitch in Rubio’s talking point, as he kept referring to the Gang of Eight bill as the “Senate immigration law”–  rhetorically undermining his argument that it was never supposed to become law.

Moreover, Rubio’s statement that he thought the standards were “too low” seems to be a tacit admission that he was not telling the truth to the American people about the bill’s contents at the time he was selling it to them– as Phyllis Schlafly, Mark Krikorian and others have documented.

As Schlafly recently wrote, during he Gang of Eight push, “Rubio pledged in an ABC news interview: ‘We are going to get the toughest enforcement measures in the history of this country.’ When the bill was introduced, Rubio put out a fact-check — and linked up with donors to run ads to the same effect — which declared Schumer’s plan to be ‘THE TOUGHEST BORDER SECURITY AND ENFORCEMENT PLAN IN U.S. HISTORY.’ And people believed him.”

Indeed, as anti-amnesty blogger Mickey Kaus pointed out, Rubio’s newly-expressed desire that the bill would “never become law” seems to run against everything Rubio said in his sales pitch at the time:









Schlafly has previously explained how Rubio’s “it was the best we could do” Gang of Eight talking point is disingenuous:

Rubio’s repeatedly stated reason for joining the Gang was to get the most conservative bill out of the Senate; the reality, however, was that Rubio sold Republican lawmakers on a bill radically to the left of McCain-Kennedy: a bill that granted instant legalization, doubled annual foreign worker admissions (a much larger increase than McCain-Kennedy), issued 30 million green cards, provided mass amnesty, expedited citizenship for DREAMers without an age cap, removed the limits on family-based migration, etc., etc.  Rubio’s bill was supported by every single Senate Democrat, every single liberal house lawmaker, every progressive politician and group in the country, Nancy Pelosi, Luis Gutierrez, Harry Reid, La Raza, Center for American Progress, George Soros, and on and on.  Of course the White House was the biggest champion.

In her 15-page memo, Schlafly documented Rubio record of “lying to conservative media” and the many falsehoods he told at the time. For instance, Rubio said border security would precede amnesty– a fact he later admitted was not the case in a Spanish language interview. Similarly, “one of Rubio’s constant selling points for the bill was that it transformed our immigration system from family-based to merit-based,” Schlafly writes, yet this too was not true: “despite making the “merit-based” system one of his central selling points, the bill substantially increased chain migration,” Schlafly explains.

“Rubio said, often and repeatedly, (and does to this day in pitching his immigration plans) that illegals would have to “pay taxes and undergo a background check,” Schlafly pointed out. However, “there is no such thing as ‘back taxes,’ for illegal immigrants as most have no net tax liability.” Similarly, with regards to the background checks, Rubio’s bill would have legalized criminal gang members and child sex offenders.

“The final product surely was one of the worst bills mashed together in the history of legislation itself,” Schlafly writes. “Rubio traded shamelessly on the affection and trust conservatives had placed in him. His deceptions about his immigration bill rivaled and exceeded Obama’s claims about disastrous Obamacare.”

As Donald Trump’s Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller recently explained, Rubio still supports all of the major provisions of the Gang of Eight bill.

There are “three core provisions to the Gang of Eight bill: (1) citizenship for illegal aliens, (2) massive expansions of foreign guest worker programs, and (3) large expansions to the rate of permanent annual immigration. He [Rubio] is in favor of and is campaigning in favor –ultimately, using code words — of all three of those provisions. Everything else is just details. That’s the core essence of the Gang of Eight bill, that’s the core essence of Rubio’s immigration platform today, that is the core essence of what he’ll do as President.”

Miller explained that it is for this reason that Rubio will never apologize for his central role in the amnesty and immigration expansion bill. Miller said that Rubio will never say “I’m sorry” because “he’s not sorry for a second… he believes to this day in everything that’s in the Gang of 8 bill and wants to be in the Oval Office so that he can implement everything in the Gang of 8 bill.”


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