Sen. Marco Rubio: Immigration bill 'probably can't pass the House'
April 30th, 2013
08:33 PM ET
12 months ago

Sen. Marco Rubio: Immigration bill 'probably can't pass the House'

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday he doubts the so-called Gang of Eight's bipartisan immigration reform will gain enough support in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

"The bill that's in place right now probably can't pass the House," the junior senator from Florida said on Mike Gallagher's conservative radio show. "It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now."

The proposal, unveiled by the eight senators two weeks ago, calls for a 13-year path to citizenship for those who entered the United States illegally before 2012.

It would take 10 years for such undocumented immigrants to get green cards and then another three years to gain citizenship. Along the way, they would have to pay a fine and back taxes and pass a background check.

The legislation also mandates that there be no path to legality until it is determined that the U.S. border with Mexico is secure. It's that trigger, Rubio says, that has many Republicans worried. If the federal government fails to enforce border security right now, critics wonder whether they would do so in the future.

"That is a very legitimate suspicion, it's one that I share, and if there's anything we can do to make (the bill) even tighter...that's exactly what we should be working on."

The bill, which Rubio labeled a "starting point," will soon face committee markups. The senator said he's heard "some valid points" from those who object to the bill and welcomed any amendments or changes that will make the legislation more appealing in the House.

"Let's try to fix it," Rubio said. "Let's try to change it, but to just say, 'let's defeat the whole thing,' I don't think that's a productive approach either."

On the House side, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has also been working on a proposal, though they've been quieter about it than the Senate's Gang of Eight.

President Barack Obama said in a news conference Tuesday that the Senate's plan meets criteria that he believes are necessary. This includes more effective border security; a crackdown on employers "gaming the system;" making the legal immigration system work more effectively; and making sure there is a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the country.

He said he hasn't seen what House members are proposing and promised to be open-minded about whether they can address the issue better. But, he added, "The bottom line is, they still have to meet those basic criteria."

Looking through a more political lens, critics have argued that allowing millions of undocumented immigrants to have eventual citizenship will make things worse electorally for the Republican Party, as a strong majority of Latinos voted for Democrats in November.

Defending the plan, Rubio disagreed in a radio interview with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh earlier this month.

"I am not prepared to admit that an entire population of people, because of their heritage, aren't willing to listen to our pitch on why limited government is better."

– CNN's Joe Sterling, Jason Hanna and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Immigration • Marco Rubio
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    The House is controlled by Tea Party radicals who really only represent the white, fearful right-wingers. Latinos know the Republican's interest in them is only about votes and shifting demographics. Think they'd block immigrants from Ireland?

    April 30, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Of course not, the spiteful, do nothing Republicans won't allow it. I hope all you Latinos and Latinas remember this on election day!

    April 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein

    Of course it won't pass the House. If it comes out of the Senate, it will die in the House solely because it came from the Senate.

    April 30, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Looks like Republican Party rebranding efforts are not going too well. The failure to pass immigration reform legislation will fall on the Republican Party.

    April 30, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. alex

    Because limited government isn't better the way Republicans want to do it, and everyone else in the world knows it. To repubs a limited government is really a dysfunctional government, just look at how they are running things now.

    April 30, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. GonzoinHouston

    If it doesn't pass this congress, it can always pass in the next, after the GOP gets creamed in 2014.

    April 30, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. PJ

    April 19, 2013 "Rubio called for fellow conservatives to step forward and embrace immigration reform..........."
    April 30, 2013 Rubio says "the Bill that's in place right now probably can't pass the House".
    Sounds like your "fellow conservatives" don't want to step forward, and you are backtracking.
    So, what did you accomplish?

    April 30, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Richard Long

    It is a 844 – page monstrosity of an Amnesty Bill. The economy is still in shambles and Washington's solution... legalize 12 million criminal immigrants and give them food stamps and obamacare. This Amnesty Bill needs to go away!

    April 30, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Sounds like Rubio is working with other extremist republicans in the house, to intentionally undercut the group he worked with to author this bipartisan proposal.

    April 30, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. NameTodd A

    I wish I could sleep and not wake up until 2016 when islamabama is just a hilarious memory hippycrit from the past, and all his freeloader illegal immigrants can pay for there own food and housing and medical while they plan on how to blow off women and childrens legs while on there student islam visas

    April 30, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Miquel

    Only the BAD Illegals WILL have to leave Obama says.
    Then what is a GOOD ILLEGAL?
    They say only the worst Illegals should be deported according to their
    violent past as the measurement of which VERY BAD
    Illegals should be deported individually..
    THEN what is it when ILLEGALS get paid cash under the table AND turn around
    and show falsified lower income data reported to public aid
    due to unreported cash income in order for their children to receive many forms of
    WELFARE paid for by us - hint this activity is FRAUD and also – TAX EVASION.
    And of course what about the Illegals working here using stolen identitys of
    other Americans to stay here working ...hint--- now that's a FELONY.
    How is this not enough to deport? ARE THESE kinds of activities what we should support to
    allow these people eventually to become American citizens?

    April 30, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  12. ShrinkingClass

    The Gang of 8 WORKING AGAINST U.S.CITIZENS.....
    The hearing comes as the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators unveiled their highly anticipated immigration reform proposal earlier this month. Among the measures included in the sweeping bill, the legislation proposes to significantly increase the number of H-1B visas available to highly skilled and educated foreign workers.

    TELL CONGRESS WE ARE TIRED OF TRAINING INDIA

    The corrupt congress of the United States working against U.S. citizens and for large corporate money!

    The h1bvisa program is filled with fraud and abuse, as reported by the inspector general........U.S. engineers are required to TRAIN their replacements from INDIA in the U.S. on H1Bvisas and then the U.S. engineer is laid off!

    Congress is supporting an increase in H1B-visas...
    Raise the annual cap on H1-B visas for high-skilled workers from 65,000 to 110,000, with provisions to prevent such workers from undercutting American wages. Set a maximum cap at 180,000 such visas.

    The h1bvisa program is filled with fraud and abuse, as reported by the inspector general........but the media gives it a pass due to their large corporate advertisers and Congress is lining their pockets with the large corporate donations!

    Tell congress we are tired of training INDIA! Vote out of congress those voting to increase H1bvisas!

    April 30, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  13. Name lynn

    After watching the news an the media the immigrations have big problems.

    April 30, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. Catmandew

    It doesn't look like a plan that will be enforceable anyway. Give Obama a week or two and he'll just write an executive order anyway. He will make some excuse about the plan not being to his liking or not allowing illegals their rights and go around the law like he always does. I wonder when he will start working for us we pay him he won't defend our rights!

    April 30, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. carloooos

    This is insane. Pass the darn bill and get those 11 million people out of the shadows . That is the safest and most humane path as well

    May 1, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. wigglwagon

    Any proposed reform that does not include mandatory jail terms for employers of illegal aliens will be a complete failure just as the '86 Amnesty was a failure.

    An 800 page bill is ridiculous.

    The penalty for employers of illegal workers should be mandatory $15,000 fine per illegal worker and mandatory 2 years in jail without parole per illegal worker. That and deportation of the illegal worker would put an immediate end to the problem.

    That is ALL the reform we need.

    People like the DREAMERS are not needed in America. The people in their home countries need the DREAMERS to help build free, prosperous societies. It is America's responsibility to help all countries build a better world. We should not be stealing 'the best and the brightest' from other countries.

    May 1, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  17. helenecha

    America needs more a flexible security system of sifting legal immigrants and eradicating illegal immigrants to meet the realities on the ground than a comprehensive immigration reform.

    May 1, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. MAC

    The government did not enforce the immigration laws from 1986 so anyone with common sense would not expect them to finally uphold laws since they are not doing it now. All the proposals so far will do nothing to prevent us from having to deal with another 11 to 20 million illegal immigrantsw in another decade. We need to change the anchor baby laws and to make being her illegally a felony like in Mexico and the rest of the world.

    May 1, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    The Republicans sway and move with the farting winds they espouse/ eject.
    Gun laws are'nt perfect so useless and also a waste of time to consider, also not enforced properly. ( By whom??)
    Hello congress passes laws ( and yes as we all know the law is an ass) then the Judicial or police law enforcement branches of government ( constitutional separated powers please) enforce laws not the " government per se"!
    Then the states have rights and can undermine federal laws constituionaly with a lowering of federal enforcement requirements... thats partisan " government intereference ( hello checks and balances) with federal law objectives and enforcement desires.
    The media's semi -polite word for this is gridlock.
    For me the American political system has one weakness. its pure two party democracy that starts its priniciples form totally opposite perspectives.
    America need what?? A significant number of Independent House of Representative s and some Senators to get elected to in todays world create the checks and balances and support the interests of the nation and the will of its people on difficult issues like immigration or war or gun control because then money politics can't face three ways at once. And we the people wrest control from the money PACS by our votes and real opinions FREELY expressed.
    We need a third vote type/ series of politicians in the House and Senate like now!!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    May 1, 2013 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  20. Bob

    Rubio always talks out of both sides of his mouth.

    May 1, 2013 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    Just a drama by these idiots.

    May 1, 2013 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  22. Marie MD

    The little anchor baby trying to be a big boy. Somebody give this tea tagger some water.

    May 1, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  23. Minnie Mouse

    Sen. Marco Rubio, Let the "House" vote, that's the only way to find out if your probably right or probably wrong on your assumption. I think it's a really good bill. All of these people need to be checked out and we dont' need to be in any rush to allow anyone and everyone in our country, and they also need to be paying the taxes and fines. What's up with that? Do you feel it's to much? If they want to live in our country, they need to abide by the American laws! As far as security goes, there's miles and miles and it will be almost impossible to catch everyone that crosses the border lines.

    May 1, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    So, Republicans are against cracking down on employers hiring undocumented workers. Surprised?

    May 1, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  25. jaron kadek

    Mr. Rubio has paid zero attention to his state's unemployed, which are in the hundreds of thousands. Instead, he has concentrated on these grand media campaigns. I will not vote for him again. He cares absolutely nothing for people like me.

    May 1, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |