Rubio calls Heritage immigration report not 'legitimate'
May 7th, 2013
04:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Rubio calls Heritage immigration report not 'legitimate'

(CNN) – A report by the conservative Heritage Foundation criticizing the Senate "Gang of Eight" immigration reform plan for being too costly wasn't an accurate assessment of the bill, one of the Republican lawmakers authoring the measure said Tuesday.

The report, released Monday, takes particular issue with the Senate bill's pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, saying such a route to legal status would cost taxpayers trillions.

Sen. Marco Rubio, in an interview with CNN en Español's Juan Carlos Lopez, countered that improving the immigration system would actually help bolster America's economy.

"I don't believe their report is really legitimate. I have a lot of respect for Heritage, but I don't believe their report is a legitimate one," the Florida Republican told Lopez.

Creating a legal pathway for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country would cost taxpayers a minimum $6.3 trillion over the lifetime of those immigrants, according to the new Heritage report, which also argues the average undocumented immigrant is 34-years-old, has a 10th grade education, and receives $14,387 per household in government benefits in excess of taxes paid.

Former Sen. Jim DeMint, who left Congress last year to head the Heritage Foundation, said at a news conference that "no sensible person could read this study" and conclude that the bill would have a positive impact. Comparing the bill to "Obamacare," DeMint chided comprehensive legislation and called instead for a "piece by piece approach."

Rubio pushed back against DeMint's argument Tuesday, saying bringing undocumented immigrants into legal status would help strengthen the United States.

"If they are legalized, they will be able to work and pay taxes, they'll be able to open businesses and in due time improve their financial situation and contribute to the country's wellbeing and not hurt the country," Rubio said. "So that's why I strongly disagree with that report."

DeMint has previously acted as a mentor to Rubio, who was elected in 2010 with strong backing from the tea party and other grassroots groups. DeMint, then-senator from South Carolina, endorsed Rubio in the summer of 2009, bringing a national spotlight to the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. The support helped push Rubio ahead of incumbent Gov. Charlie Crist and on to the GOP nomination.

But his new push for immigration reform has angered some influential conservatives, who equate a pathway to citizenship with "amnesty." Rubio has aggressively defended the bill on conservative talk radio and in op-ed pieces, saying the bill, as it stands, can be made better with more Republican input.

On Tuesday, he'll meet with over two dozen grassroots conservative leaders in Washington, a Rubio aide told CNN. Most of the activists attending the meeting support immigration reform, the aide said.

And later in the day, Rubio will join a conference call convened by the right-leaning Hispanic Leadership Network for its supporters to discuss immigration.

CNN's Jim Acosta, Ashley Killough, and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Immigration • Marco Rubio
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Does this guy know by making 11 million people tax payers incur 9.6 trillion dollars whereby get 3 trillion from their taxes. Pathetic idiots are these congress idiots, and senate.

    May 7, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    I can see reboot is dumping the gop goofball conservatives, a small portion of the voters ,its time the gop and Rubio download the gop conservative garbage if they ever want to win a national election with out tryin to rig it .maybe Rubio is joining the real world and not the 1950s gop morons that are going to lose the house and senate in2014 mid terms and Rubio might go to . When you only represent the worst of the population don't expect to win !!!!

    May 7, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Larry L

    It's amusing to hear Rubio, as he pretends to be a Latino, complain about a bill being unfairly characterized. When Obamamacare is described by Republicans as "socialism" or when they talk about "death squads coming for granny" are those characterizations honest? Also interesting that Obamacare was an idea originally from Heritage – where DeMint now does his right-wing attacks on American politics.

    May 7, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Of course it's not. "Dynamic scoring" (and similar terms) is fundamental, core conservative dogma. It's what allows them to engage in ridiculous math-assumption games to claim that tax cuts not only pay for themselves but actually increase government revenue via an unexplained, never before seen but still believed in magical explosion of economic activity and growth that they somehow, but again without explanation, they supposedly cause. Here, Heritage threw that out and failed to consider AT ALL the economic benefits immigration reform would provide and the increases in economic activity it would cause. Know why? Because, unlike with their tax-cut dogma, there's oodles of data that prove economic growth and activity and increased government revenue will result from immigration reform. Heritage jumped right off their own bandwagon as soon as soon as it became inconvenient and the discrepancy is glaring.

    May 7, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The hertiage foundation is just a gop propaganda machine for the gop brain dead and the hick from south Caroline who now runs it has no credibility except with the conservative gop hicks in the country ,no body intelligent would believe their gop bs propaganda. Looks like another win for the dems in 2014 and 2016.

    May 7, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Obamacare was an idea originally from Heritage "

    Not entirely. For the most part it was just the mandate really. It was their response to Hillary's health care reform proposal in 1995-1996 and basically was the conservatives' way of yelling and screaming that it should be "yet another handout" and that everyone should have "skin in the game"...and the way they proposed doing so was to force everyone to insure themselves.

    May 7, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Neutral Observer

    Does Rubio know the govt record on coming in below or above cost??

    May 7, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Neutral Observer

    Ha ha ha,
    millions more people who cant afford to support themselves let alone their family. You think the debt looks big now. I can just see it when hyper inflation hits and the dollar shrinks a trillion times. Those were the conditions that brought about WW2.

    May 7, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Bill

    Rubio is a buffoon and the GOP is a party at war with itself. Good luck in 2016 – you are going to need it.

    May 7, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    We're used to hearing numbers over 1 year or 10 years.

    This Heritage estimate is 50 (FIFTY YEARS). So divide the number by 50 and see what it is per 1 year.

    May 7, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. lottie

    Rubio and the GPO are not working together at all. That's one of the things wrong with the party the other is it is full of crazy nut jobs and a congress that wants to do nothing. All their energy for the last 4 plus years has been used to thwart the president. They have no concern for the American public. They only fast action they took was with the airlines so they could go on vacation.

    May 7, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    What's not legitimate is the GOPer's embracing a latino (or any person of color), legal or otherwise. I have to say though, I'm impressed with the way Rubio is standing up for what he believes in. The "party" of haters is making it hard for him.

    May 7, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. NoShamnesty

    the bill would more accurately be called "no illegal immigrant left behind"....great work for Americans by the corrupt politicians in the dirty city.

    May 7, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. gwiz

    this is a great idea because these people would be liable for there healthcare bills and theyd have to pay taxes or be deported plus if these people are willing to pay for there citizenship and pay back taxes then they should be allowed in. now mr rubio u say u want smaller government how much money will have to be spent by the IRS to make sure they,ve paid up. then the INS AND HOMELAND SECURITY surely you wouldnt allow 11 million immigrants citizenship without background checks then what about the ones who were criminals in other countries u need that info to i think 6 trillion sounds bout right kick em out let real americans have the jobs i ll shovel crap as long as i get paid

    May 7, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Ray from Austin

    The idea that we are somehow increasing tax revenue by making illegal immegrants citizens is bogus. The IRS issues an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to individuals to file income-tax returns but are not eligible to work in the United States. Instead of generating tax revenue, these are rife with abuse in the form of the child tax credit and earned income credits which actually allow illegal immigrants to collect billions annually from the federal government in false filings.

    May 7, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. One_Viewers_View

    Legalize the 12 mil and most will give up their min wage jobs and smuggle others to fill them and they themselves will get on welfare as they can play the system. Mexicans DNA is playing the system.

    May 7, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Javier Burgoa

    The Heritage Foundation is trying to cite a study where the results were set before the data was processed. That is what happens when a party makes a study without considering all the overwhelming data given by the last waves of immigrants. They postulate that we are here to take more than what we can contribute, that we are leeches of the government, that we have no intentions to assimilate, and we are poised to vote for democrats. Well let me tell you that since the XIX century, immigrants have come without anything but the suitcase and hunger, low education and lots of relatives, to work hard, break our backs to prosper and have our children a better future that we could ever fathom. Our goals are no different than any other American, STRIVE. That's why we are here, no to take from any handout HF wish we are for, but to proper. We learn English, we pay taxes, waaay over the regular citizen, yet we are entitled to nothing. But we still are here to prosper, or to give to our children a better future.
    Since when, the best educated people, the most affluent, the wealthiest, the best of their countries have the need to emigrate to other place were are treated as a second class citizen to strive in other country than theirs. This is the country of our children and we are here to contribute to it, so it can be a better place for them. We are not different than the rest of the immigrants that came decades ago.
    Poised to vote for democrats? Let me tell you this, we will vote for whoever helped us, and we have a very long and good memory, so are our voting age children.
    The HF postulates that because we are low educated, and considering a time span of 50 years (as they could foresee the future. I hope they tell me the Lotto numbers of the next week), we are going to use more government services that we are going to give. But they don't consider what is the part that could give them more gains than the average citizen, when many of us can give to this country the next President, the next GMC or the next Google, because the innovation doesn't have a SSN or a green card. The only thing it needs is to strive. Not to mention that 11 Million people x Fines +fees, its a good and juicy amount of money to the government services that citizens are in so much need of. Just do the math, and don't even think that it's an amnesty as they say. Amnesty== Amnesia (Nobody is forgetting or forgiving the illegal actions we took at any time in our life here). Sorry if I didn't learn enough English to express it in a better way.

    May 7, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Jersey Girl

    Give it up, Senor Rubio, you never ever will be Presidente, which is the only reason you are now pretending to be on the side of immigrants. And if you run for president, I hope the Dems remember your lies about your parents coming over during Castro's time, when they actually came before then. Keep on lyin', typical Repub.

    May 7, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. stan

    A little history lesson:
    Implicit in the 1986 immigration reform was that once that AMNESTY was “done,” it would “solve” the problem—combine a unique act of mercy with a lasting enforcement structure. Here is what we were told during the 1986 AMNESTY.

    The late Senator and drunken murderer Ted Kennedy made this point explicit. He grandly proclaimed in 1986: "We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another Amnesty bill like this."

    How did Ted's promise work out?

    ANSWER : We are told by our wonderful politicians that we have 11 million, probably closer to 20 million, and perhaps even 30 million lining up for AMNESTY. They are the poorest of the poor, and want free stuff that our government has so generously offered to anyone who asks.

    So you either have to be woefully ignorant, profoundly stupid, a liar like DICK Durban (with a specific agenda, not at all related to the interests of AMERICAN CITIZENS) to refute the obvious history (and likely outcome) if we allow AMNESTY again

    see NumbersUSA,, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and for additional information on the impact and TRILLIONs of DOLLARs of cost on the United States

    May 7, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Data Driven

    What's this then? A Republican trashing a Heritage Foundation study? Somebody wants those Latino votes in 2016 reaaal bad.

    May 7, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Shamnesty

    The American public of 20 million illegals? Thats Mexico's concern, not the taxpayers! Leave at any time liberals....why are you still here?

    May 7, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Jack21

    This bill should not pass,Illegal Mexicans should not be rewarded in any way for coming here and stealing from the American Taxpayer and Worker......The illegal Mexicans deserve to be deported with the clothes on their backs,thats it.....We auction off all their property they obtained here illegally and fine their employers and this should more than pay for the costs of deportation.Any money left over we use to help the people of identity theft,and the communitys the illegal Mexicans have destroyed. Legal Latinos should be charged and jailed for helping the illegal Mexicans scam our GOV,schools and social services. Legal latinos are the ones helping the illegals ,so they are just as guilty,they need to go to jail and be fined,second offence they should be stripped of their citizenship for helping foreign nationals invade our far as the gays well latinos and gays go hand and hand,It has been proven most latino men are born with the gay gene and are very open to the homosexual experience,they are easily swayed into the homosexual lifestyle,and usually turn to child molestation at some point....

    May 7, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. Jack21

    Traitor to American Workers and taxpayers

    May 7, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Thomas

    The Heritage Foundation also said the Iraq war would pay for itself people !

    I'm sure the check is in the mail !

    May 7, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    I would think that legalizing all these people would RAISE revenue, since they would then all be able to pay taxes – and because when they become citizens, their employers won't be able to dodge paying their share of taxes, too.

    GOP and the Heritage Foundation = really, really lousy at math

    May 7, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
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