Does Rubio Deserve a Pat on the Back, Or a Slap Upside the Head?

rubio_podiumSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned House Republicans, on Wednesday, against falling for Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) “Buy Now, Pay Later” immigration deal. “I don’t think he thought that through. I think it’s something he offered up on the air in order to create a political trap,” Rubio said referring to Schumer’s offer on Meet the Press that Republicans could pass amnesty in 2014 and delay implementation until after President Obama leaves office in 2017.

Without actually defining what he means by a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, Rubio dismissed the idea of attempting “comprehensive” immigration reform in one huge incomprehensible bill. “This idea that you either pass one big massive bill or nothing at all, this all-or-nothing approach is going to lead us right back to where we’ve been for 12 years. Nothing.”

Coming from just about any other member of Congress, Rubio’s words of caution would be a refreshing bit of intellectual honesty that is all too rare in Washington. Coming from Rubio, those words are nothing short of infuriating.

Rubio was not just one of the authors of the “all-or-nothing” approach that the Senate took last June when it passed S.744 – some 1,200 pages of benefits for illegal aliens, cheap labor for employers, and utterly worthless enforcement promises to the American people – he was the bill’s chief salesman. Over and over again in the months leading up to the vote in the Senate, Rubio defended the approach to immigration reform he now concedes is unworkable. Had he said then what he is saying now it is quite possible that S.744 would not have gotten the 60 votes it needed to get to the floor of the Senate. At the very least, the bill would not have gained the support of 14 Senate Republicans.

Did Rubio suddenly discover that President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce any of the recycled, enforcement promises in his bill? Did he have a sudden epiphany that the bill that has his name on it gives the president more discretion not to enforce immigration laws, not less?

No, a year ago Rubio walked right into the political trap he now warns against because he thought it would further his political aspirations. Now he realizes that the bill he shilled is a political albatross and is hoping the House will bail him out by burying it.

Better late than never. We hope he succeeds in dissuading the House leadership from walking into the same political trap he did. But, like the president, he’s got a long way to go to restore the trust of the American people.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    It did not take long for Rubio to become the flip flopping politician. He allowed the Democrats to pull the wool over his eyes. Because he reversed his stance on illegal immigration, if he has an opponent in the primary, I will support his opponent. His position immigration shows he has no concerns for the millions of unemployed Americans. The bill he helped author will only help the illegal immigrants, it will only make finding employment much harder for THE UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS.

  2. avatar

    Rubio and Schumer both have long records of favoring illegal aliens over Americans, and working for corporate interests by pushing for higher immigration to drive down wages. Another trait they share is conspicuously low intelligence. For a Democrat from New York that is not a problem, for a Republican from Florida is just might be. Rubio’s hypocritical attempts to save himself politically from his woefully ill-considered political opportunism are not going down well with his constituents.

  3. avatar

    This is a short video that everyone should see – a real eye opener. Please watch it, then post it everywhere you can, send to your email contacts, etc. If people were aware of the future impact on population size of our current immigration policies they might be more inclined to put pressure on Congress. The projected population will strain our natural resources among other things.

    “Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts”

  4. avatar

    “As far as amnesty, that’s where [Charlie Crist] and I disagree. He would have voted for the McCain plan. I think that plan is wrong…if you grant amnesty…you will destroy any chance we will ever have of having a legal immigration system that works here in America.” [Marco Rubio, Fox News Sunday debate with Charlie Crist, March 28, 2010].

    • avatar

      Rubio’s transparently silly games with the English language have never fooled anybody. To him, nothing short of immediate citizenship, plus a signing bonus, is amnesty.

  5. avatar

    The problem, as I’ve said for decades, isn’t amnesty and illegal immigration. It’s the 1965 INA and birthright citizenship. It’s massive, never-ending, LEGAL chain migration.

    Until the insanity of our legal immigration system is fixed, we’ll continue to see illegal immigration in abundance.

  6. avatar

    “Secure Now, Buy Later”! This is what we need. If the Dems are willing to wait for the amnesty to kick in after Pres. Obama leaves office in 2017, what difference would it make if we – secure the border now and amnesty to begin in 2017?

    So, yes – I agree, but change it to “Secure Now, Buy Later.”

  7. avatar
    John K Thompson on

    My hypothesis: Some big money Beltway guys convinced him that GOP support of “comprehensive reform” was inevitable and that if he was seen out front he would emerge as a top contender for national office, the more so since both his first and last names end in vowels. A lot of people were buying this story. Instead of just quietly voting for “comprehensive reform”, he was talked into joining the Gang of Eight. All he had to do was sign on the dotted line and the big campaign checks would start coming in. Bad guess.
    If a people’s tribunal were held today, the penalty I would impose on him is 1) disqualification from national office for ten years, and 2) a national penitence tour in which he publically appears in a dunce cap with Gang of Eight emblazoned across his chest and apologizes to immigration restriction groups in front of an open mike.
    Even after he has publicly repented, though, I have to ask myself whether anyone who allows himself to be outsmarted by Chuck Schumer is fit for higher office

  8. avatar

    Unfortunately, he needs slapped upside the head. He’s just another self-serving politico, not the savior of the Republican Party or the Republic.

  9. avatar
    Mass Legalization Is Unsustainable on

    “he’s got a long way to go to restore the trust of the American people.”

    Once you shill for bill as bad as S. 744, that can’t be done–but at least he now sees what a fool he was and hopefully will do the right thing from now on.

  10. avatar

    The Title Says It All

    Confusion over our Dem/Rep real intentions on amnesty.

    They’ve lost America’s trust with their lawlessness intents on immigration law enforcement(s)…

  11. avatar

    For “flip a coin to see where Marco’s at”, he needs a serious slap upside his head! He, like some throughout his party, along with the demented Dems, just can not grasp reality. Continually rewarding illegal alien lawbreakers, and not making sure the immigration laws of this country are enforced, only perpetuates the rape of U.S. taxpayers. When will these asinine and insulting degenerates in OUR government get it right, NO AMNESTY, period!

    • avatar

      I agree Kyle. The way that they are headed, the will start giving new mustangs for all who had a DUI last year. If you break a law you should get punished not an award. I am starting to think all congress is mentally incapable of holding office.

  12. avatar

    He was totally opposed to amnesty when he ran for the Senate in 2010. He said it would encourage more illegal entry. But that was before he set his sights on the White House.

    • avatar
      Capt. John Johnso on

      Leland interestingly enough theses illegals manage to make a living…….meaning they r more driven than most of us……