Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions took issue with Florida Republican and Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio’s characterization of the immigration reform process on Friday after Rubio explained the Senate must enforce border restrictions for the immigration bill to pass.
Rubio spoke about proposals to tighten the border security aspects of the Senate’s immigration reform bill Thursday night with guest host Ed Morrissey on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
Rubio explained that in order for more lawmakers to rally around the legislation, they will need to be able to point to the bill’s provisions for tighter border enforcement to their constituents back home.
“There are a lot of Republicans that want to be supportive of something, but need to be able to go back home and tell people that they have taken serious steps to ensure this never happens again,” Rubio said. “Like I said, it’s going to have to happen. It’s going to have to be in there, or this is not going to pass.”
Sessions — who has been critical of not only the law enforcement aspects of the Senate bill but also the legislation’s impact on American workers — was “not encouraged” by Rubio’s comment.
“This is the whole problem: it’s not about just passing ‘something’ and telling the American people we’ve fixed the problem. It’s about actually fixing the problem,” Sessions said in a statement Friday evening.
The Senate voted down Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s border security-first amendment on Thursday. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn also unveiled his more strict border security amendment to criticism from Democrats and some GOP Gang of Eight members this week.
Roll Call reports that as early as next week Rubio and other Republicans could release another border security amendment.