Posted under Immigration
I keep receiving emails from various conservative email lists advertising that Marco Rubio is a “real conservative” – versus Charlie Crist, “a liberal in disguise.” (If you haven’t been following, Rubio is a Cuban-American vying with Charlie Crist in the Florida Republican primary for Mel Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat.) What never is discussed in these emails, however, is Rubio’s ambiguous record on immigration.
While it is true that both Martinez and Crist have supported mass amnesty and Rubio has stated he would have opposed the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, Rubio otherwise seems to be intentionally vague on the issue of immigration.
Washington Watcher at VDare notes that prima facie Rubio does indeed seem an improvement over Mel Martinez on immigration:
[Rubio's] platform states:
“Legal immigration has been a great source of strength and prosperity for America, but I believe illegal immigration threatens the foundation of this system. If I had been in the Senate at the time, I would have opposed the McCain-Kennedy bill. I believe we must fix our immigration system by first securing the border, fixing the visa and entry process and opposing amnesty in any reform.”
But “fixing the visa and entry process” could mean a lot of things—including massively increasing legal immigration. Remember how Bush tried to portray amnesty as “immigration reform”.
And Rubio gave a disturbing hint of what this meant in a convoluted interview with the website Red County. He absurdly accused Democrats and labor unions of being against legal immigration, while Republicans (he asserted) support it.
Rubio must be either completely ignorant of the sellout of union workers by Big Labor, or he is promoting a guest worker program—the only aspect of legal immigration that labor unions oppose.
Even more ominously, Rubio blamed the Republican’s “tone” on immigration for alienating Hispanic voters.
Even Rubio’s record on illegal immigration is dubious. In 2008, patriotic Florida state legislators proposed over a dozen bills to crack down on illegal immigration, but as Speaker Rubio stalled them in the House:
“Florida lawmakers looking to pass bills targeted at curbing illegal immigration faced one major hurdle this session—convincing South Florida legislators, who hold key leadership positions in the House and Senate, to support their cause.
“Without the backing of House Speaker Marco Rubio, the first Cuban-American to hold the position, the bills failed to get any major play in their committees. Six weeks into the session, a three-hour workshop was held on the six House bills, but even that failed to produce its desired intent of combining the bills into one larger committee bill.
“‘Speaker Rubio outlined the priorities of the session and this didn’t fall under that list,’ said Rivera, one of Rubio’s lieutenants.”
[Miami-Dade lawmakers stymie immigration bills, by Laura Figueroa, Miami Herald, April 17, 2008]
Finally, Rubio was the object of a fawning National Review cover story recently which even worse, was written by the unspeakable John J. Miller—a very bad sign indeed. [Rubio Rising |The Florida GOP has a new star, Sept 7, 2009(Free link)]
Rubio is not the only anti-establishment candidate in the race. Former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, who has since moved to Florida, is also running. Unlike Rubio, he is making stopping illegal immigration a top priority. According to the Jacksonville Observer
“During a recent appearance on the Jacksonville Observer Radio Show, Smith made it clear that he was not pulling punches against Crist or Rubio. He noted that his campaign is going to include a significant focus on dealing with illegal immigration. On the issue of so-called amnesty, Smith replies: ‘No, no, and hell no!’” [Rubio and Smith to Participate in Senate Candidate Forum, by Austin Cassidy, The Jacksonville Observer, October 19, 2009]
That said, Smith’s record on immigration in the Senate in the 1980s and early 1990s leaves much to be desired. But it is clear that he is currently the only candidate in the race who is making stopping mass immigration a series issue.