Matt Lewis

No, Rubio isn’t telling Spanish and English audiences different things…

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Rush Limbaugh is “disappointed” with Sen. Marco Rubio for telling a Spanish audience that legalization would come before border security, but this is not a new revelation, nor has it been exclusively communicated to Spanish audiences. In the midst of reading a listener’s email on Tuesday, Limbaugh said this:

“I have to say, [Rubio] said that in an interview with the Spanish language network, and that bothered me,” Limbaugh said. “That just disappointed me. Am I right, Rubio has always said security first, nothing else, and he’ll pull out of the bill. So he told a Hispanic-speaking audience that legalization has to come first and then border security. Anyway, the email writer observes that.”

In fairness to Limbaugh, he was prompted to discuss this by an emailer. And he didn’t dwell on the point too long.

Still, it’s important to note that — not only was Rubio merely stating what everyone already knows is in the bill — but Limbaugh acknowledged an accurate understanding of the process as recently as April 18.

From Limbaugh’s archive:

RUSH:  Let’s go to the bill.  The last time you were here, you were very certain — you assured everybody — that until the border was secure, there would not be legalization of a pathway to citizenship.  Now people who’ve seen the bill say that what actually happens is that the legalization does take place and that then there’s a commission that has 10 years to figure out border security.  Which is true?

 

RUBIO:  Well, a couple points.  First of all, the legalization does not begin automatically.  We don’t want to wait on legalizing, and I’ll tell you why, and my original position was that we wanted to secure the border first and then legalize.  The problem is we have millions of people here now, by some estimates 10, 11 million.  We want to know who they are and freeze the problem in place.  I don’t want that number to grow.  It behooves us to know who they are as soon as possible, so it doesn’t get worse. 

I suspect part of the problem here is that people are conflating legalization with citizenship (I’m assuming that at least some of the people who are outraged are doing just that). Yes, legalization happens first — in order to identify who’s here. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. Otherwise, you’ll pay taxes and fines, etc. That makes you “legal,” but according to the bill, you’re not eligible for welfare, and still cannot even apply for citizenship until after the border has been certified to be secure — and you’ve waited in this provisional status for a decade.

Rubio has explained this process ad nauseam.

In any event, this particular attack is troubling — not just because it’s wrong — but also, because of what it implies. While I don’t attribute these motives to Limbaugh (lots of people and groups have seized on this as their silver bullet — a fact that probably prompted the email Limbaugh was reading at the time), let’s be honest about the intent.

At the heart of this is the notion that Rubio can’t be trusted — that he’s some sort of Manchurian candidate who is conspiring via cipher with his Hispanic brethren about what he really plans to do…