It’s always easier to get into something than it is to get out of it — especially if that something is a gang. No one knows this better than Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.” While Rubio may not be rushing for the door just yet, the odds are he’s already eyeballing all possible exits, and for good reason.
In recent weeks, the Gang of Eight immigration bill he helped hatch has been exposed as a complex and costly amnesty plan with empty promises of enforcement. The senator’s poll numbers are sinking, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have effectively blocked any amendment that could have fixed the bill’s serious flaws, the GOP is divided, and many Republicans resent being dragged into this debacle.
Fortunately for Rubio, there’s a way out: renouncing his Gang of Eight membership. By doing so, he can advance America’s interests, salvage his career, and help unify his party.
By now, Rubio should have realized that his bill won’t serve America’s interests. It would gut the rule of law by rewarding 12 million illegal aliens with amnesty while requiring in return only that the homeland security secretary submit a plan for improved border enforcement — a phony quid pro quo that Americans reject and which the ICE and USCIS unions and law enforcement officials across the country have said will “make the current system worse, not better.” The bill would impose staggering costs on already burdened U.S. taxpayers and flood our nation with millions of additional legal immigrants and guest workers who would displace American workers and erode wages. The bill would also grant sweeping discretion to an administration that has proven itself unworthy of being trusted.
Some have suggested that Rubio is helping push immigration reform because he thinks doing so will catapult him to the top of the political hierarchy in 2016. But the bill that has emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee offers nothing to improve the plight of American workers and taxpayers, nor any meaningful improvements to border security. Is this really the legacy legislation on which he expects to further his career?
Perhaps Rubio thinks the amnesty bill will help the GOP. Here’s a newsflash: The Republican Party can’t be fixed by hastily granting amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens. Expanding the number of low-income, government-dependent immigrants in the hope that they will vote for the party of small government is a fool’s errand that will alienate the party’s conservative base. With midterm elections looming, most Republicans — sans Rubio — seem to understand that if an amnesty bill has GOP ink on it, they’re going to get their clocks cleaned by angry constituents who know that the amnesty bill offers them nothing but the promise of higher government spending and stiffer competition for jobs. Rubio would do well to remember President Rutherford B. Hayes’ advice that “he serves his party best who serves his country best.”
Or maybe the senator just got duped, egged on by a choir of special interests, Democrats, and the president — all of whom are praising Rubio and his amnesty plan because it would advance their own agendas. Rubio is not the only junior senator who’s been seduced by an inside-the-Beltway echo chamber that excludes the most crucial opinions: those of voters. Americans may understand this and even forgive Rubio, but their patience is wearing thin.
Section 3701 of the Senate immigration bill allows the homeland security secretary to grant provisional status (amnesty) to aliens provided they renounce all association with their street gangs. Whatever his personal or political motivations, Rubio should take advantage of that concept and renounce his gang membership now, because the longer he lingers, the more Americans will think he’s making political calculations and not acting decisively on behalf of the American people. The harm this bill will inflict on our nation must be Senator Rubio’s primary concern.
Bob Dane is the communications director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.