WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio made his closing argument for immigration reform on the floor of the Senate Thursday, invoking family, Scripture and the Constitution before the final vote at 4 p.m.
“My father had someone phonetically write on a small piece of paper the words ‘I am looking for work.’ He memorized those words. They were literally some of the first words he learned to speak in English,” the Florida Republican said, describing his Cuban-immigrant parents.
The Spanish-speaking 2016 presidential hopeful, dubbed “the Republican savior” by Time magazine, has been the face of the bill since joining the bipartisan “gang” of senators responsible for drafting it.
“My mother recalls how she wept on that terrible November day in 1963, at the news that her president had been slain. How on that magical night in 1969, they watched an American walk on the moon and realized that now, nothing was impossible. Because well before they became citizens, in their hearts they had already become Americans,” Rubio said.
Rubio gave another speech Wednesday directed at Republican colleagues and tea party conservatives who oppose the bill.
In that speech, the Florida senator, who co-sponsored and co-authored the bill, said he involved himself in immigration reform to change what he described as a broken immigration system in “a terrible mess.”
“It reminds us that sometimes, we focus so much on how immigrants could change America, that we forget that America changes immigrants even more. This is not just my story. This is our story. The story of how this country, unique among the nations of world, has made one people out of so many people from so many different places on earth,” Rubio said Thursday.
With the inclusion of the Hoeven-Corker “border surge” amendment, which passed the Senate yesterday, the bill is expected to win the Republican support it needs to move out of the Senate after a final vote at 4 p.m. Thursday.
In his closing remarks, Rubio described the immigration bill as “the latest chapter in the amazing story of America,” calling on his colleagues and supports nationwide to embrace the legislation he has assured supports will not become another “broken promise” of reform.
“Here, immigrants will give their children the life they once wanted for themselves. Here generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass. Even with all our challenges, we remain the shining city on the hill. We are still the hope of the world. And in the end, that is why I support this reform. Yes, I believe in immigrants, but I believe in America even more,” Rubio said.