« Democrat leader Darryl Rouson leaves Morgan & Morgan, rumors fly | Main | Bondi enlists businesses to help fight sex trafficking in Florida »

Marco Rubio pushes back against Jim DeMint/Heritage Report


Sen. Marco Rubio, who kept silent yesterday as the Heritage Foundation released a study asserting massive costs under immigration reform, sharply pushed back today and offered up his parents as evidence of the immigrant contribution.

"Their argument is based on a single premise, which I think is flawed," Rubio told reporters. "That is, these people are disproportionately poor because they have no education and they will be poor for the rest of their lives in the U.S. Quite frankly, that’s not the immigration experience in the U.S. That’s certainly not my family’s experience in the U.S. The folks described in that report are my family. My mother and dad didn’t graduate high school and I would not say they were a burden on the United States

"My parents were a lot better off 25 years after they emigrated here than they were when they first got here. And their children certainly have been. I still think we’re that country. And I still think we can be that country and even more in the future. So I guess I just have a lot more belief in the future of the country than some of the folks that helped prepare it."
Rubio, who is close with Heritage's Jim DeMint, found some area to praise the report.

"They raised some valid points," he said. "We do want to address welfare benefits in the United States, the structure of the entitlement programs. But that’s not just true for immigrants; that’s true for everybody. ... I think the report, as much as anything else, is an argument for welfare reform and entitlement reform. Not necessarily an anti-illegal immigration reform study." (Heritage responds here)

This afternoon, Rubio is holding a closed-door meeting with conservatives, part of his effort to gain support for the bill. He and other proponents realize they need a strong showing in the Senate (though 70 votes seems a high bar) to provide momentum as the House takes up the debate.

Amendments are being filed today to the bill. Below, Rubio's statement about that process.

"Ending today’s de facto amnesty and fixing our broken immigration system is essential for America’s sovereignty, security, job creation, economic growth and preserving immigration as a source of our nation’s strength. Leaving the status quo in place would be disastrous.

“Since I first engaged on this issue I have repeatedly said that the bill we hoped to produce would serve as a starting point. Since the immigration bill was introduced last month, we have heard from thousands of voices across America. Some, quite frankly, will not support any bill, no matter what changes we make. But most of the suggestions we have heard raise legitimate points and suggestions on how to improve the bill. The good news is that it is now clear that the overwhelming majority of Americans across the entire political spectrum are prepared to address the fact that we have millions of human beings living here illegally, so long as we take measures that ensure that this never happens again. In particular, most conservatives are ready to support immigration reform, so long as it takes serious steps to prevent another wave of illegal immigration in the future.

“By mandating E-Verify and an entry-exit tracking system, and by investing over five billion additional dollars on border security, the current bill takes significant steps to prevent another wave of illegal immigration. But the federal government’s failure to enforce the law in the past has left people with little confidence in its ability to do so in the future. That is why in order for this bill to become law, it will have to be improved to bolster border security and enforcement even further and to limit the federal government’s discretionary power in applying the law. In addition, additional measures will be required to address potential costs to taxpayers.

“Throughout this next phase of the immigration debate, we want to continue hearing from the public about how to get immigration reform right. For members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this is their first chance to make a good faith effort to improve the bill. I look forward to working with them throughout this process to ultimately fix our broken immigration system and ensure we never repeat today’s broken mess again.  What is not an option is doing nothing. Anyone who opposes this bill but fails to offer a real and specific alternative is in favor of the status quo. And the status quo is de facto amnesty.”


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jose Carmona

Republicans and the Tea Party are anti-Hispanic and anti-everything. Marco Rubio should quit the Republican Party.

Hispanics Hate the Republican Party

"it's that they hate pretty much everything about the Republican Party. On virtually every question they trust Democrats over Republicans by a huge margin. Nice work, tea partiers."


David Farrar

It won't be enough to put a dent in the number of illegal immigration along our southern borders, especially..
We need enforcement. We simply don't need 30 million new immigrants at this time.

ex animo

The Tea Party That Once Was

David Farrar, should illegal immigrants be shipped out of the country in 30 million containers? We've seen that kind of atrocity play out before.

Henk Merison

From the responses it appears that Latino's think everyone who's not Latino hates them, particularly the Tea Party. Well, I am part of Tea Party and I was an immigrant myself, but a LEGAL immigrant who waited two years for our visa.
It appears like those who are Latino think that they are entitled to special treatment?
Why anyone would want to condone illegal entry, while millions worldwide are patiently waiting for an opportunity to come to the Land of the Free, boggles my mind. Get to the back of the line, wait your turn and that is NOT because I hate you, it is just the right thing to do!

Conservative Activist

I love the way "The Tea Party that once Was" (I bet it was never for that person) appears to be invoking some outrageous holocaust-like analogy...Did the previous comment include anything about shipping anyone out in containers, sir?
Henk Merison? Your comment is ON THE MARK! Rewarding illegal conduct or bad behavior simply leads to to more bad behavior. It's one of the oldest rules in civilized societies.
And BTW, my parents and I came over as immigrants as well, and became naturalized citizens the old-fashioned way. We earned it by following the rules and contributing to the American way of life!

The comments to this entry are closed.