Politics

Rubio dodges immigration controversy at CPAC

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio won loud applause for his speech at the first day of the CPAC meeting, but he carefully avoided mentioning his controversial effort to rewrite the nation’s immigration law.

“I do think it is interesting, and telling, that he didn’t mention immigration,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, which wants to reduce the current immigration level of 1 million people per year.

During his short speech, Rubio urged conservatives to focus on the worries of blue collar and middle class Americans..

Rubio called for a new focus on students’ debts, which have grown past $1 trillion as Americans fail to find jobs that match their expensively-earned qualifications. He also called for continued attention to overseas problems, highlighted his pro-life beliefs and celebrated marriage in the face of progressive efforts to reshape it,  earning support from groups that he will need if he runs for the the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016.

However, the speech’s contents “completely conflicts with his [immigration] plans,” said Jenks.

“You can’t grow the middle class when you’re flooding the low-skill labor market and keeping workers impoverished,” she told The Daily Caller. “The only thing that grows is big business profits and the entitlement system.”

Those plans include the award of both work permits to at least 11 million low-skill illegal immigrants, and many work visas to high-skilled and low-skilled workers sought by businesses.

Numerous polls show the amnesty and guest-worker measures are unpopular among Americans, and very unpopular among GOP supporters. (RELATED: Immigration group says polls are all wrong)

A February poll by Reuters and Ipsos showed that 53 percent of Americans believe that all or most illegal immigrants should be deported, not given amnesty. Only 5 percent wanted all immigrants to be allowed to stay, while 31 percent said most immigrants should stay.