In an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday night, Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio indicated that he would not support the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill he had helped author unless it is changed.
Earlier in the day, Rubio had said that immigration reform was still short of the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate. (OPINION: Immigration questions House conservatives should ask Rubio)
“Well, let me first say that the news of what I said today on Fox about there not being the 60 votes: Actually, Sen. [Robert] Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat, said the same thing last week,” Rubio said. “And that’s a fact. And the reason why is because while there’s a group, well, the majority of our colleagues are prepared to do immigration reform, they’re only prepared to do it if we ensure that this illegal immigration problem never happens again.”
“And so there’s a handful of Democrats, and a sizeable number of Republicans that are saying to us we’re prepared to do immigration reform, but we have to make sure there isn’t another wave of illegal immigration,” he continued. “So for those who want immigration reform, the task is very simple: Let’s strengthen the border security parts of this bill so that they’re stronger, so that they don’t give overwhelming discretion to the Department of Homeland Security. And I think if we can do that, then you’re going to be able to get something done. But if you can’t, it’s not going to happen.”
Later, Rubio indicated he would not vote for the bill unless it is amended.
“I think 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,” Rubio replied. “So the answer is no. If they don’t pass, then we’ve got to keep working to ensure that we get to a bill that can become a law. We’re not interested in passing a Senate bill. We’re interested in passing a law that reforms a broken legal immigration system, that begins to enforce the law and that deals with the 11 million people who are here illegally.”
“And that’s the goal of this endeavor. And so if those amendments fail, we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and keep working until we can figure out one that will pass. But I don’t understand why anyone would be against it, as such. I don’t think there is a good reason to be against strengthening border security for our country.”
UPDATE — USCIS union to warn of “Gang of Eight” bill consequences:
The Daily Caller has learned exclusively that tomorrow the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Could, the union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services officers and staff, will be sending a letter to Sen. Marco Rubio and all “Gang of Eight” members stating that if legalization comes before enforcement, even if the enforcement provisions were completely re-written by Congress, the policy will fail. The letter also claims that because of the interior enforcement provisions the bill would result in a national security threat.