Rubio ramps up pressure on immigration bill
June 5th, 2013
01:22 PM ET
10 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. Rudy NYC


    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.
    If we have "plenty of money to do it", then why would we need to cut other programs that we need. Just because you don't need it doesn't mean the programs are not needed.

    You've also forgotten the other cost factor. TIME. How long would it take to build your border fence? What are the odds that it would be obsolete, or not even needed, before it was even half finished?

    June 5, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "In the long run, the country will SAVE money by rounding up and deporting all illegals."

    Not a single economic study actually supports that claim. In fact, they show that providing a pathway to citizenship will help "save" Medicare and SS and that immigrants pay just as much as everyone else for the social services they use with their contributions to economic activity and taxes (and yes, before your silly rant about them not paying taxes, they do pay you think they avoid sales taxes and all other forms?).

    "Cut EPA by half, BILLIONS there. "

    LOL. And when health care costs go up because of widespread sickness caused by pollution, etc., will be have to just accept that some people "don't deserve" health care? And yes, health care costs will go up if oversight and enforcement of environmental laws becomes so lax that pollution runs rampant....rampant cancers and other illnesses caused by pollution are part of the reason we established the EPA and environmental laws in the first place and here's a little secret: it worked.

    "I have ZERO confidence that any Democrat administration will enforce ay immigration laws"

    I have zero confidence you know what you're talking about in light of all the evidence contradicting your statement. Yes, we know, you're angry about demographic shifts and you think Dems "want to let in illegals for votes," but what the Obama administration has done to enforce the immigration laws isn't up for's fact...and it proves you 100% wrong.

    June 5, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "We have PLENTY of money to do it."

    No we don't. Our gov't gave it all to the 1% via preferential tax laws and the Bush tax cuts.

    June 5, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Without securing the border first this bil lisn't worth the paper it's printed on.

    June 5, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota


    Rubio is a gutless weasel!

    Most Republicans are these days. I suspect it is the Rush Limbaugh (and company) influence on the GOP membership: paranoia, fear mongering, mockery ... you name it, Rush (and company) has his fingers in the money pot and his mouth on the golden mic.

    June 5, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Cost is irrelevant.", I love getting conservatives to drop hypocrisy bombs like that. Christie did it yesterday with his gambit to force the special election to be prior to the regular election in hopes that making them separate will mean the special election has lower turnout, which is always an advantage to the GOP. When people vote in droves, they lose. He also didn't want the senatorial campaign increasing turnout for the regular election...same reason.

    June 5, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    According to the state of California unemployment payouts have been cut 17.69% due to Obama's sequester. This is stated on the phone message from the EDD. Interesting how the sequester was only for 2-3%. They're making the people suffer greatly because that's what they want.

    June 5, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Tommy G

    Want to completely STOP visa overstayers??? Very, very easy. Require them to pay for and put up a $1,000,000 bond as a requirement of their visa. They overstay, the bond company tracks them down to regain part of their money back.


    June 5, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. just sayin

    Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)
    According to the state of California unemployment payouts have been cut 17.69% due to Obama's sequester. This is stated on the phone message from the EDD. Interesting how the sequester was only for 2-3%. They're making the people suffer greatly because that's what they want

    people in california deserve to suffer. they have inflicted pelosi and boxer on the rest of the country. the pain the country has suffered is far far less than the pain they are now receiving.

    June 5, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Tony D wrote:

    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.
    What happened to cut spending?

    It has taken us decades to construct those few fragments of fencing. It would take a couple of hundred years and trillions of dollars to construct what the right wing wants. Time is a cost factor, too, you know.

    Actually, giving out millions of free smart phones to illegal immigrants is the best idea I've heard. Now, when the right wing accuses the Democrats of giving away phones for votes, at least the people will actually have them, despite the fact that Republicans gave them away.

    I have homework for you. Buy dictionary. Look up "hypocrisy". Look up "projecting". Look up "conservative". The last definition should tell that it means resistance to change, which fosters an atmosphere ot stagnation, rot and decay.

    June 5, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. kayla

    stupid is as stupid says

    June 5, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "According to the state of California unemployment payouts have been cut 17.69% due to Obama's sequester. This is stated on the phone message from the EDD. Interesting how the sequester was only for 2-3%. They're making the people suffer greatly because that's what they want."

    You should just hold up a sign announcing that you really have no idea how the budget and the sequester work. I'll help you make it so you can avoid the predictable Teatroll spelling errors.

    June 5, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    "Shoot 'em Jacob" ! We'll sort out the details later. Hell, the AR-15 guys(Well Trained Militia) have got plenty of ammo. Had to buy it up before Obama took it from 'em.

    June 5, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    Well, while we are discussing immigrants and "anchor babies" here are some stats on Gabe Gomez(R):

    Psst, tea baggers, just read where Gomez was born to Colombian IMMIGRANTs, doesn't that make him one of those despised and reviled "anchor babies" which the FOX bubble describes as some sort of subhuman life form, instead of an American citizen?

    OMG, I kept reading, and he is a trained Navy Seal!!! Obviously, you GOPers where right, the Colombian drug cartel s decided back in the 1960's to send pregnant drug mules to have "terrorist" babies on American soil so they could come back and kill us all after being trained at tax payer expense!

    Hang on to your tea cups, he was indoctrinated at that liberal bastion of hate for all things American, HARVARD!

    From now on, I will get my news from Drudge and Glen Jones(beck and Alex, but one and the same) they have been right all along, and I was a mindless "Obama bot".

    Uh, but wait, before I start drinking Earl Grey, how exactly did this "anchor baby" infidel make it through the GOP primary process???

    Oh, piffle, now I see his last name is Gomez but he looks white, and he is handsome and that is all that counts to the GOP.

    Never mind, I'm in!

    June 5, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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