Archive for the ‘Marco Rubio’ Category
WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says a new immigration bill he helped write needs stronger border security provisions or it will fail in the House and may even have trouble getting through the Senate.
Rubio, who is the chief emissary to conservatives on the contentious legislation, said in a radio interview and in an opinion piece being published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that he’s been hearing concerns in recent days that more work is needed to boost the bill’s language on the border and he said he’s committed to trying to make those changes.
In his Wall Street Journal piece, Rubio cited “triggers” in the bill that aim to make new citizenship provisions contingent on border security accomplishments. Critics say those provisions are too weak, because in some cases the Homeland Security secretary is tasked with undertaking studies — but not with delivering results — before millions in the U.S. illegally can obtain legal status.
Rubio also mentioned revisiting “waivers” in the bill that give federal officials discretion in applying the law, another flashpoint for conservative critics; concerns about the bill’s cost; and the possibility of making legalization provisions for immigrants already here “tougher, yet still realistic.” He didn’t offer details.
“Clearly what we have in there now is not good enough for too many people and so we’ve got to make it better. And that’s what I’m asking for and that’s what we’re working on,” Rubio said separately this week in an interview with “The Sean Hannity Show” radio program.
“This bill will not pass the House and, quite frankly, I think, may struggle to pass the Senate if it doesn’t deal with that issue, so we’ve got some work to do on that front,” he said.
Rubio’s comments came during Congress’ one-week recess. Back home, lawmakers are hearing feedback about the 844-page bill. Rubio and seven Democratic and Republican senators — the so-called Gang of Eight — introduced the legislation April 17. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin voting on it next week.
In addition to improving border security, the bill would create new visa programs to bring many more foreign workers into the U.S., require employers to check their workers’ legal status, and create a new pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
The bill faces a tough road in the Democratic-led Senate and an even tougher one in the GOP-controlled House, and some supporters say it will only be successful if Republicans believe it does enough on the border.
The bill allocates $5.5 billion for border measures aimed at achieving 100 percent surveillance of the entire border and blocking 90 percent of border crossers and would-be crossers in high-entrance areas.
The Homeland Security Department would have six months to create a new border security plan to achieve the 90 percent effectiveness rate. Also within six months, the department would have to create a plan to identify where new fencing is needed. Once that happens, people living here illegally could begin to apply for a provisional legal status.
If the 90 percent rate isn’t achieved within five years, a commission made of border state officials would make recommendations on how to do it.
After 10 years, people with provisional legal status could apply for permanent residency if the new security and fencing plans are operating, a new mandatory employment verification system is in place, and a new electronic exit system is tracking who leaves the country.
Critics say these triggers don’t do enough.
“The triggers aren’t triggers at all,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement. “The day the bill passes, there will be an effective amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants — abandoning the Gang of Eight’s public promise of enforcement first.”
But changes aimed at strengthening the border security provisions could cause heartburn among Democrats. Advocates and the Obama administration have been reluctant to see citizenship made contingent on border security. Immigrants here illegally already face a 13-year path to citizenship under the bill — which Rubio said actually could stretch to as many as 20 years for some, given how long it takes to undertake certain steps — and anything that could make it more onerous raises concerns with supporters on the left.
The border security agreement is “a very fragile and delicately worded part of the bill,” said Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. “To me it really goes to the fundamental question of workability.”
Border security is just one issue that’s likely to provoke a fight. There’s also a brewing dispute over whether the bill should recognize gay unions so that gays could sponsor their partners to come to the U.S. Gay groups are pushing for an amendment in the Judiciary Committee to allow that, but Rubio and other Republicans have made clear it would cost their support.
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about the gay immigration issue on Air Force One en route to Mexico City on Thursday. “We have said that we support that provision, but we also think it’s very important to recognize that the overall bill here accomplishes what the president believes needs to be accomplished,” Carney said.
Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/may/05/us-immigration/#ixzz2SdEcl03I
By Cameron Josephration Plan
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blitzed all five Sunday shows in his most public pitch yet for the emerging immigration reform bill, arguing that it would control the border and rejecting conservative criticisms that it provided “amnesty” for illegal immigrants in the country.
“This is not ‘amnesty.’ ‘Amnesty’ is the forgiveness of something. ‘Amnesty’ is anything that says ‘do it illegally, it’ll be cheaper and easier,’” Rubio, a member of the bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ senators set to unveil their immigration bill on Tuesday, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, is a key figure in winning GOP support for the bill overhauling the nation’s immigration laws through tighter border security and a pathway to citizenship for those illegal immigrants already in the country.
But the contentious politics also place the potential 2016 presidential candidate in a difficult spot, as many conservatives strongly oppose offering immigrants who came here illegally a chance to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship. The charge is the most potent attack conservatives have lobbed at the bill.
Rubio defended the bill on Sunday, saying it would allow illegal immigrants to stay only after meeting a series of requirements, including having a job and paying fines, and would require them to wait years before applying for citizenship.
The Florida senator argued the time was ripe for addressing immigration reform.
“This is an issue that needs to be solved,” he said.
Rubio argued that the current system is “de facto amnesty” and that the bipartisan plan would greatly improve control of the border with Mexico.
He said the creation of an “entry-exit” monitoring system to keep immigrants from overstaying their visas, and an “E-Verify” system to make sure companies aren’t illegally hiring unauthorized immigrants would be a central component of the comprehensive bill.
But some conservatives are marshaling their forces in opposition to the legislation and Rubio has sought to allay their concerns about the bill.
Rubio pushed back against a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation that immigration reform would be costly to the government. A similar report helped derail immigration reform six years ago by undercutting conservative support for the measure.
“Conservatives love dynamic scoring,” he said, arguing the bill’s effects should be taken on the whole and not just looked at from what it would cost the government. “This will be a net positive for our country now and for the future.”
Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a close Rubio ally who helped get him elected in 2010, is now head of the organization — and has long been a staunch opponent of giving illegal immigrants any legal status.
Rubio emphasized on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the bill was “a starting point.”
“It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it offer,” he said, acknowledging the work ahead to win support.
Speaking CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio said the bipartisan group of senators behind the bill wouldn’t stop amendments to the legislation.
“We haven’t agreed to band together to keep anyone from amending it. There are 92 other senators who have their own ideas about immigration reform, who, quite frankly, I think, can help make this bill better,” Rubio said.
The Gang of Eight first unveiled their framework in January and have been negotiating details of the plan since then.
A House group is working on its own bipartisan immigration overhaul, and leaders from both parties have said they hope to move on legislation soon. President Obama has made immigration reform a top priority for his second term.
But House GOP concerns over citizenship and conservative calls for the border to be secured first remain key obstacles.
Rubio has taken a deliberative approach to talks on the bill, and has urged Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to move slowly, allowing time for senators to build public support for their proposals.
Rubio said on multiple shows Sunday that he wasn’t backing the bill to boost his political prospects or to help the GOP improve its standing with minority voters, but rather because the nation’s immigration policy was broken.
“There are political ramifications to everything we do in Washington, but it’s not the reason to do it and it’s certainly not the reason I’m involved in this,” he said on “Meet the Press.”
“This is not about improving anyone’s poll numbers. This is very simple — I’m a senator. I get paid not to just give speeches, I get paid to solve problems. This is a serious problem here in Florida, this is a serious problem in America,” he added.
Rubio did say the next Republican presidential nominee would need to address immigration, even if his or her views on the issue didn’t match what Rubio has proposed.
“The nominee of our party needs to be someone that has answers to the problems our country faces, and immigration is a serious problem,” he said.
On CNN, Rubio said that he hadn’t considered if the success of the immigration reform bill could affect his own chances in 2016.
“I really haven’t. I have a job. My belief has always been that if I do my job and I do my job well, I’ll have options and opportunities in the future to do things, whether it’s run for reelection, run for something else or give someone else a chance at public service. And that’s how I view this issue,” Rubio said.
Kevin Bogardus contributed
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/293743-sen-rubio-defends-emerging-immigration-deal-as-not-amnesty#ixzz2QXANwixQ
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By Sandy Fitzgerald
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is developing a wide-ranging immigration reform plan — including steps to give more than 12 million illegals currently in the U.S. legal status — in an effort to seize the initiative on a contentious issue that polls show is hurting the Republican Party with the nation’s rapidly growing Hispanic population.
Rubio laid out the broad outline of his plan in an interview with the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, at the same time President Obama announced he would push a comprehensive immigration plan of his own this March.
Surprisingly, both hold similar goals – creating a process in which undocumented workers in the U.S. can gain status and at the same time create a potential path to citizenship at some point in the future.
New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer predicted immigration will soon take center stage in Washington, sweeping other issues to the side.
“This is so important now to both parties that neither the fiscal cliff nor guns will get in the way,” Schumer, who heads up bipartisan Congressional efforts on immigration, told The New York Times.
Republican lawmakers have told Newsmax that Rubio’s plan could pass muster, even with immigration hardliners, if the plan included a significant restitution for illegals to pay and began taxing them for their work here.
Critically, Republicans want to ensure newly documented workers don’t get citizenship too soon, with many advocating a minimum 10-year window before newly legal residents could acquire citizenship.
But the Republicans have to walk a political tightrope. After President Obama handily won re-election, garnering the support of 71 percent of Hispanic voters, the GOP has been anxious to woo this key swing ethnic group.
At the same time, Republicans fear that the nation’s delicate political balance would move in favor of the Democratic Party if election rolls swelled too quickly with new immigrant voters.
Rubio, in his interview, made clear that his Republican plan differs from the president’s in its phased approach. He argues it should create a series of legislative bills on immigration reform rather than one omnibus bill envisioned by the president.
The Florida Republican, one of the nation’s best-known Hispanic leaders and an oft-mentioned candidate for president in 2016, is preparing the first such bill, one that will provide legal status specifically for young illegal immigrants, known as Dreamers, who came to the United States as children.
Rubio’s plan also will include penalties for those already in the country, but notably doesn’t call for tougher border enforcement because he believes the sweeping reforms will deter future waves of illegals from landing on America’s shores.
Rubio, the son of Cuban-American exiles, is making immigration one of his primary issues in 2013, the Times reported Sunday.
Rubio says his piecemeal approach will be more successful, since lawmakers will get better results if the politically and practically tangled problems of the immigration system are handled separately.
Rubio, however, told reporters last week that the piecemeal approach was “not a line in the sand” for him.
He does, however, demand that any legalization measure should not be unfair to immigrants who played by the rules and applied to become residents through legal channels.
Specifically, Rubio’s proposals would allow illegal immigrants to gain temporary status so they could remain in the country and work, according to the Times. Then they would be sent to the back of the line in the existing system to apply to become permanent residents, and eventually citizenship.
Republicans “are going to have a struggle speaking to a whole segment of the population about our principles of limited government and free enterprise if they think we don’t want them here,” Rubio told the Times.
The Wall Street Journal revealed other key parts of Rubio’s plan:
Some 12 million illegals residing in the U.S. could begin the process of becoming legal by identifying themselves to federal authorities and being fingerprinted. If they have not committed any crime, demonstrate that they have been in the U.S. for a while, and then pay a fine and taxes, they could enter a “limbo status,” Rubio said. “Assuming they haven’t violated any of the conditions of that status,” newly documented workers can apply for permanent residency and potentially citizenship, he added.
A rise in the cap for people who bring investment or other skills into the country. Rubio noted the United States doesn’t produce enough science, math or engineering graduates to fill high-tech posts. The number of those people allowed in could be adjusted according to demand, Rubio noted, saying, “I don’t think there’s a lot of concern in this country that we’ll somehow get overrun by Ph. D.s and entrepreneurs.”
A weakening of the family reunification aspects of current immigration law. “I’m a big believer in family-based immigration,” he says. “But I don’t think that in the 21st Century we can continue to have an immigration system where only 6.5 percent of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration.”
A guest-worker program to help meet the needs of American growers. Most of the 1.6 million agricultural laborers in the United States are illegal immigrants, and Rubio noted American produce could not be picked without them. He wants the country to have a number of visas that are provided through a guest-worker program that is sufficient to address growers’ needs for pickers. “The goal is to give American agriculture a reliable work force and to give protection to these workers as well,” Rubio told the Journal. “When someone is [undocumented] they’re vulnerable to being exploited.”
“Every country in the world has immigration laws and expects to enforce them, and we should be no different,” Rubio told the Journal.
Rubio said he wants the reform to come through in a comprehensive package of bills, possibly four or five instead of one omnibus, that would move through Congress concurrently because he knows how bad policy easily sneaks into big bills.
This isn’t Rubio’s first proposal on immigration matters. He is a co-sponsor for the E-Verify law, which if passed will require employers to check workers’ legal statuses against a federal database. Critics have complained the database is faulty and the law turns employers into immigration agents and pushes illegal workers into hiding.
Rubio, though, said workplace enforcement is essential for reform, especially if his plans for expanding guest-worker and high-tech visas come through.
“You want to protect those folks that are coming here,” he said. “You’re not protecting them if you allow their wages and their status to be undermined by further illegal immigration in the future.”
Rubio said he believes people who come here unlawfully with their parents should be accommodated quickly to gain a way to become naturalized citizens.
Rubio tried last year to get support for his immigration reform ideas, but his fellow Republicans didn’t like how certain provisions would allow some illegals to obtain citizenship.
But his efforts caught President Obama’s eye, and the president ended up offering two-year reprieves from deportation, helping him win the Hispanic vote.
But Rubio says Obama’s action may have set back the reform cause some. Still, he is ready to take on further immigration reform, even though comprehensive efforts failed twice already under George W. Bush’s administration, and Obama failed to act on reform in his first term.
Rubio told the Journal that Obama has “not done a thing” on reform and may want to keep it alive as a Democratic platform, but at the same time, “maybe he’s interested in his legacy” and will be willing to make a deal.
But immigration reform won’t be all the GOP needs to attract the Hispanic vote, Rubio said.
“The immigration issue is a gateway issue for Hispanics, no doubt about it,” he said. “No matter what your stance is on a number of other issues, if people somehow come to believe that you don’t like them or want them here, it’s difficult to get them to listen to anything else.”
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will introduce Mitt Romney as this week’s Republican National Convention, charged on Monday that President Barack Obama was abandoning his pledge to improve the tone of American politics.
“Barack Obama 2.0 is not the same person who was elected four years ago,” Rubio said on “Fox & Friends.” “Four years ago, I know people who voted for him who had never voted for a Democrat. They voted for him because they loved his story and they felt, ‘You know, we may not agree with him on everything, but he’s going to elevate American politics.’ Those days are long gone. This is as ugly and nasty a political campaign as I’ve seen in the last six cycles I’ve been involved in.”
Rubio, appearing from his hometown of Miami, also faces a more harrowing challenge than the introductory speech: He said he’s making the 4½-hour drive from Miami to Tampa with his four children. Flights across the state of Florida have been canceled because of Tropical Storm Isaac.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/80186.html#ixzz24qiilnmx
“For all the policy disagreements that we may have with the president, it is hard to understate how much he inspired people across this country four years ago, with his promises to unite America and lift it up,” Rubio said about Obama, referring to his 2004 DNC speech and 2008 presidential run.
But, Rubio said, President Obama has changed: “The man who today occupies the White House and is running for president is a very different person. We have not seen such a divisive figure in modern American history as we have over the last three and a half years.”
Rubio, who might be the next Republican vice presidential nominee, also said that Obama and his Democratic party are on a “destructive, counterproductive, and very unfortunate” path.
“The president and his party’s view of America’s government and our lives is a failed one. It hasn’t worked. His ideas that sounded so good in the classrooms of Harvard and Yale haven’t really worked out well in the real world,” said Rubio. “They get frustrated. They can’t win on their record, and so they’ve chosen to go down a different road, one that I think is destructive, counterproductive, and very unfortunate.”
Rubio also used the speech to introduce himself and talk about his personal story.
by Javier Manjarresby Javier Manjarres
The Pinellas County GOP headed by Chairman Jay J. Beyrouti, held their annual Lincoln Day Dinner with Senator Marco Rubio as their keynote speaker. The 500+ attendees to the dinner had to wait on Rubio, not because he was running on the infamous ‘Cuban Time’ but because his flight was cancelled due to inclement weather in Miami. In a bold move to save the event, Beyrouti arranged for a private plane to pick Rubio in Miami, and fly him up to the Tampa Bay area.
One of issues Rubio emphasized in his speech was Medicare. Rubio stated that there is “no bigger defender of Medicare” than him because his mother is currently receiving Medicare assistance and that is how she “gets her medicine.” Rubio also stated that Medicare enabled his father to die with dignity after a long bought with cancer back in 2010.
If you are in favor of leaving Medicare they way it is right now, you are in favor of bankrupting Medicare, that’s a fact- Senator Marco Rubio
In a must see speech Rubio smacked down President Obama as an opportunist that has “no plan to fix Medicare,” seeing it only as a “political tool.” Rubio also added that the only plan Obama and the Democrats had to fix Medicare was to wait for Republicans to the issue and then attack them on it.