Rubio ramps up pressure on immigration bill
June 5th, 2013
01:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Rubio ramps up pressure on immigration bill

(CNN) – Speaking after a meeting with a group of House conservatives Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida continued to voice support for immigration reform legislation, but distanced himself from the Senate proposal he helped craft with the bipartisan "gang of eight".

Rubio was asked about his comments on a conservative radio show earlier in the day that he may vote against the Senate bill if the changes he wants don't pass. He didn't tell reporters on Capitol Hill he would vote against it, but did say, "If the changes don't happen, the bill can't pass. We'll keep working. We won't abandon the effort, we'll keep working to ensure that we have a bill that can pass."

Noting that he was asked to join the immigration effort in part to help bring Republicans on board, Rubio declared, "I can tell you that the bill as structured isn't going to pass the House, and it's going to struggle to pass in the Senate."

Republicans' concerns, Rubio said, center on border security and the bill's cost. Republicans are "generally prepared to do immigration reform so long as we can ensure that it doesn't cost the taxpayer money, and so long as we can ensure that there isn't another wave of illegal immigration in the future," Rubio said. "So that's what we're going to have to focus on, is winning peoples' confidence that that's what the bill will do."

Rubio joined a group of senators-both opposed and supportive of the Senate bill-for a meeting with a big bloc of House conservatives known as the "Republican Study Committee" Wednesday afternoon.

This marked the first major bicameral GOP meeting on the issue. Many members of the RSC have already said they plan to block any bill without stricter border security or legislation that includes a path to citizenship, but others in the group are open to comprehensive reform.

Sens. Jeff Flake (who's part of the "Gang of Eight" with Rubio on immigration), Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Jeff Sessions also attended the meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting the senators spoke and alternated giving brief opening comments with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho – one of the 4 House Republicans in a bipartisan group trying to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan in the House.

Many House conservatives made it clear the Senate "gang of eight" bill is a total nonstarter with them, and cited the House Speaker John Boehner's position that he doesn't plan to bring it up for a vote. Many, including Goodlatte, pushed for the House to proceed with a series of immigration bills that focused on border security, and criticized the bill for not being tough enough on the subject.

Labrador told reporters after the meeting that overall, House conservatives don't like the Senate proposal, but are in favor of parts of it, but he stressed "I don't think you get anything out of the Senate without strong border security and we definitely don't get anything out of the House without strong border security."

The bill as currently written commits additional resources to southern border security and establishes a new system of metrics to measure border control effectiveness, but critics insist the plan is full of holes and will ultimately do little to help stem to the tide of illegal immigration.

A number of proposals to enhance border security before allowing the rest of the bill's provisions to take effect were rejected in the Senate Judiciary Committee's markup of the bill last month.

Speaking in the radio interview Wednesday, Rubio said if his added proposals fail to pass the Senate at large, he doubts the bill will get enough votes. Asked on the Hugh Hewitt show if he would still support it, Rubio said "no."

"If those amendments don't pass, then I think we've got a bill that isn't going to become law and I think we're wasting our time. So the answer is no. If they don't pass, then we have to keep working to ensure that we get to a bill that can become a law," he said.

An aide to Rubio pointed out that the senator has said all along the bill was only a "starting point" and would need improvement.

"He told Hugh last night that the bill currently doesn't have the bipartisan support it needs to become a law, and therefore it needs to be improved," the aide said.

Wednesday's bicameral meeting suggests that the Senate side is aggressively working to make sure they pass a bill that has a future in the House. As of now, House Republicans have expressed fierce opposition to the Senate version and a bipartisan group is working on their own bill in the House.

Goodlatte has said he wants to move immigration reform in pieces, not as a comprehensive package like in the Senate. Labrador, who's part of the RSC and a key GOP member of the House group working to finalize the immigration proposal, has repeatedly said the Senate immigration bill can't pass the House.

Republican Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a key conservative leader in the House, told reporters Wednesday morning it "would be highly unlikely" at this point for the House to pass a path to citizenship because many do not trust the current administration to enforce the current immigration laws.

– CNN's Alan Silverleib, Paul Steinhauser, Ted Barrett and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: House • Immigration • Marco Rubio • Senate
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "says he will not support his own bill "

    You can stop reading at that line right there. Says all you need to know. Will he be filibustering his own bill like McConnell did a little while ago when his bluff got called?

    June 5, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "...it "would be highly unlikely" at this point for the House to pass a path to citizenship because many do not trust the "current administration to enforce the current immigration laws."

    Despite him enforcing our immigration laws and borders more than any president in the past 40 years. More troops, more tech, more deportations and net illegal immigration at zero. The ONLY reason they "don't trust him" to do it is because he's a black dude. Period. There's no getting around that fact, apologizing for it, excusing it or rationalizing it away. They're angry about and terrified of shifting demographics and they equate a brown POTUS with "omg he's going to try to help "them" take the country from it's rightful white rulers!!!" It's gotten to the point where you can play a game with things the Teatrolls say, especially southern ones, that's similar to the "in bed" game you can play with fortune cookie fortunes: just add "because he's black" at the end.

    June 5, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. just sayin

    don't let the leftist/progressive/socialist/communist democrats screw the country over again like they did with the last amnesty in the 80's. the borders were never secured and now we have another 20 million illegals in the country. no secure borders, no immigration bill and we can begin rounding them all up and throwing them out. no more messing around. enforce the laws you pass or step aside and let others do the job if you aren't competent enough to do it.

    June 5, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Is Rubio still blocking the committee discussion of the Senate budget that was recently passed? And now Rubio is claiming that he cannot support his own bill that he negotiated with the other side, not unless some amendments he wants passed are tacked on to it? In other words, Rubio has reneged on the bipartisan agreement he reached. Nice.

    They claim they want border security, yet cannot agree on the metrics to measure it. Anyone who thinks that the Congress should oversee border security policy needs to go back to school. The legislative branch does not manage policy. Setting policy within the legal framework established by the legislative branch is the PURPOSE of the executive branch.

    June 5, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Donna

    Add amendments that will allow states to start enforcing the immigration laws because the feds cannot be trusted to keep their word, especially the bunch of liars we have in there now. Also add an amendment that will deny ANY federal money to any state which has a sanctuary city within its borders.

    June 5, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Alan

    The Voters in this country has had enough of wanna be 178 day in office Senators like Obama, being driven down our throats by CNN, Howard "Yeehaw" Dean, Nancy 'no nuts' Pelosi and Harry "In Search Light" Reid, over experienced veterans like McCain and yes, Hillary who not only stood by our last great president but by this country for many years, and now Rubio and his obstructionist co-conspirators have rail roaded us since they lied to get voted into office in 2010.

    This country was founded on the backs of immigrants from England, then built on the backs of immigrants from all over the world. To say in the 21st Century any individual isn't worthy of US Citizenship then for Congress to fine them knowing that they haven't voted on a single, collaboratively developed, acceptable JOBS BILL since taking office in 2010 is UNCONSCIONABLE!.

    Simple solution – put the bill up for a NATIONAL vote to the voters, dam this obstructionistic Congress, the electoral college that brought us dispicable Presidents like "43"and let "WE THE PEOPLE" decide

    June 5, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "we can begin rounding them all up and throwing them out"

    Oh? Do tell. Would you like to explain to us how that is to be accomplished and what your ever-so-detailed plan will cost? Weren't you just lighting your hair on fire a few minutes ago about the idea of 'Murika becoming a fascist police state? Wanna tell us how we avoid that while "rooting out all the illegals and sending them home with only the shirts on their backs"?

    "Also add an amendment that will deny ANY federal money to any state which has a sanctuary city within its borders."

    Right after we deny any federal money to states that are literally attempting to resurrect the civil war by enacting "nullification" statutes regarding federal law enforcement of gun laws and the ACA, attempting to criminalize federal agents doing their job or give their attorney generals the power to threaten insurance companies with law suits if they follow federal health care laws to establish the exchanges.

    June 5, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Rubio has reneged on the bipartisan agreement he reached"

    Indeed....was foreseeable/predictable as the sun rise, the tides and Justin Beiber's impending several years in and out of rehab.

    June 5, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    And just for fun...

    Ted Cruz is an immigrant.

    Awwwwwww, come on now...turn about is fair play....

    June 5, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    @just sayin

    don't let the leftist/progressive/socialist/communist democrats screw the country
    ========================
    Rubio is of course a Republican. I'll point out the Tea Bagging, Neo-Con, Bible-thumping, homphopbic, xenophobic, narrow-minded, conspiracy-fueled, obstructionist, bigoted, racist, anti-science, anti-environment, corporate fascists of the Republican Party did a fine job of starting two wars and trashing our economy.

    June 5, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    just sayin

    don't let the leftist/progressive/socialist/communist democrats screw the country over again like they did with the last amnesty in the 80's.
    -----------------
    No. That's an historical rewrite, and you know it. Reagan signed it into law. But Democrats voted to pass it as part of concession on a budget deal. Liberals opposed it because they knew it would encourage illegal immigrants willing to work for low wages, which would hurt organized labor and it did.

    June 5, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Donna

    Sniffit
    "we can begin rounding them all up and throwing them out"
    Oh? Do tell. Would you like to explain to us how that is to be accomplished and what your ever-so-detailed plan will cost?
    -–

    Cost is irrelevant. Enforcement of any and all laws is what IS important. This country MUST return to the rule of law. Besides, the costs are simply the accrued costs of NOT enforcing the laws over decades. In the long run, the country will SAVE money by rounding up and deporting all illegals. All illegals in this country will be given ONE YEAR notice, get out or if you are still here, you will be jailed and deported, as the laws state. No more playing around. Zero tolerance for law breaking country invaders.

    attempting to criminalize federal agents doing their job
    ---
    Funny you should mention that because thta is exactly what the Obama administration has done with Border Patrol and ICE agents that try to enforce the laws on the books. They have even been sued over it. And the other cases you cite, you should not have any issue with if you support sanctuary cities. I guess you only object when the laws being bucked are ones you support, right? Yeah, the left just can't stand when their own tactics are used on them.

    June 5, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Larry L

    @just sayin

    "we can begin rounding them all up and throwing them out."
    ================================
    Please let this be the campaign slogan for the 2104 and 2016 elections. Could you add something about sending all African Americans back to Africa? Surely you've also got a nasty comment about gays, women and the elderly? Please speak up loudly and make lots of racist signs – like those we saw in Tea party rallies. I'd recommend some real clever bumper stickers and TV spots shown in all major metropolitan markets. Good plan!

    June 5, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. truth hurts but reality bites

    I have ZERO confidence that any Democrat administration will enforce ay immigration laws that it does not believe are in the best interests of the Democrat Party. I have arrived at that conclusion based on the record of the Obama administration. Any future Democrat administration will only be worse with regards to enforcement and we will be having this same fight in another 10-15 years.

    June 5, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Opposed to any new legislation until we close the border and enforce our current laws. Period.

    June 5, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts but reality bites

    I have ZERO confidence that any Democrat administration will enforce ay immigration laws
    ----------------–
    Who cares? I have zero confidence that you would ever vote for a Democrat? So, what difference does your opinion make?

    June 5, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sen. Graham says they've got the votes to pass it but Rubio says they don't. Is there ANY legislation besides for the appeal of Obamacare that Congress can pass? Republicans, you do know that without immigration reform, you guys are up the creek without a paddle. Jindal told ya'll to stop being the stupid party but I see ya'll ain't get the message.

    June 5, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Donna:

    -Cost is irrelevant. Enforcement of any and all laws is what IS important. This country MUST return to the rule of law. Besides, the costs are simply the accrued costs of NOT enforcing the laws over decades. In the long run, the country will SAVE money by rounding up and deporting all illegals.
    **********************************
    So, you are stating that you must spend money in order to eventually save it? How does that work, exactly? How do you reconcile that view with the fact that we have deported more illegals in the last 4 years than at almost any time in our history, and net illegal immigration is effectively at zero? This has been accomplished even with Brewer and the other nutjobs attempting to revive nullification as a tactic. By the way, how do you expect the citizens of border states to pay for this increased security, or did you think the block grant fairy would stop by and drop a few billion into their treasuries, or have you decided which social programs you will gut to pay for your new symbol of patriotic paranoia? Honestly, the disconect you have between the fantasy world you inhabit and the real world is frightening.

    June 5, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    Opposed to any new legislation until we close the border and enforce our current laws. Period.
    ***********
    And as usual, you have no plan to pay for it, and no real will to enforce the law.

    June 5, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. chenel

    how come you not supported your own bill end you need to be a president shame on you Rubio

    June 5, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Donna:

    -Cost is irrelevant. Enforcement of any and all laws is what IS important. This country MUST return to the rule of law. Besides, the costs are simply the accrued costs of NOT enforcing the laws over decades. In the long run, the country will SAVE money by rounding up and deporting all illegals.
    ------------–
    "Cost is irrelevant" That's why conservatives crashed the economy. Cost estimates for a border fence vary from $100M per mile to as much as $1 billion per mile for the high tech fence the ultra right wing wants. Seeing how the border fence would be roughly 2000 miles long, such a fence would cost at least $2 trillion.

    So, "cost is irrelevant", how long would it take to construct this border fence of yours? It took the Chinese several hundred years to construct the 3000 mile Great Wall. How long would your high tech fence take?

    June 5, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. bladesmaint@sbcglobal.net

    to the uninformed, it was reagan who gave amnesty in the 80's

    June 5, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Donna

    How to pay for it? Seriously??? Stop all green energy boondoggles, BILLIONS there. Cut EPA by half, BILLIONS there. Cut Planned Parenthood off, half a billion there. Open Anwar for oil drilling and use all royalties to enforce immigration laws.

    We have PLENTY of money to do it. We have plenty of law enforcement ready, willing and able to do it. What we need are the politicians with the GUTS to do it! To ENFORCE OUR LAWS.

    June 5, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Rubio is a gutless weasel!

    June 5, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Tony D

    Rudy NYC - such a fence would cost at least $2 trillion.
    --

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Only if you had the corrupt Democrat UNIONS doing all the work!!! You are hilarious...

    BTW, there ARE well secured parts of the border already. The problem is the ones that haven't been secured allow the flow to continue.

    And then you have the 40% that are illegals because they overstayed their visa. We need a way to track and deport these people if they overstay. Part of their visa requirements should include the cost of a GPS enabled cell phone that they must carry with them at all times along with their visa and passport. If they fail to comply, they are deported.

    June 5, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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