Politics

Rubio admits Gang of 8 bill border security provisions are weak

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Yesterday in an interview on Mike Gallagher’s syndicated radio show, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio admitted that the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill likely isn’t going to pass the House in its current form given widespread skepticism about the federal government’s ability and willingness to enforce federal laws.

A day later on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Rubio elaborated further, saying that rhetoric coming from the Obama administrations was doing little to mitigate this skepticism.

“I don’t disagree with that being a major problem,” Rubio said. “And I would say that’s the single biggest impediment to getting anything done on this — that people just don’t trust the government. So here’s what I’m hearing from people, to be honest. What I’m hearing from people is, ‘Look, we understand there’s 11 million people here. We’re not going to round them all out and deport them. We understand that, but we’re not going to do anything if we can’t ensure that we don’t have 11 million more right behind them to come illegally.’”

The Florida senator added that Americans rightly lay the blame on both parties.

“[B]oth Republicans and Democrats have refused to enforce the law. And they really don’t trust this administration because the Secretary of Homeland Security [Janet Napolitano] goes before these committees and says there’s no problem. It’s been solved.”

In his Hannity radio interview, Rubio also conceded that the border security provisions in the Gang of Eight’s current bill make for a “struggle” for passage in the Senate as well.

“What I would say to you is that in this bill we have achieved universal E-Verify,” he said. “That’s very positive. We’ve achieved acceptance of an entry-exit tracking system and that’s positive for visa overstays. The part we still have to do some work on is this border stuff. And as I said yesterday in another interview that I did — this bill will not pass the House and quite frankly I think will struggle to pass the Senate if it doesn’t deal with that issue.”

“And clearly what we have in there now is not good enough for too many people so we got to make it better in it,” Rubio continued. “And that’s what I’m asking for and that’s what we’re working on. So what I tell people that don’t like what we’re doing on the border is to send us ideas. Send us a plan. You know, we haven’t gotten one from anybody yet. But what can we do to make sure the border is enforced — to make sure it actually happens, because no one can tell me that the most powerful country on earth cannot secure its own border.”

Follow Jeff on Twitter