Rubio tries to muster conservative support for immigration bill

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:47pm EDT

Members of the U.S. Senate's ''Gang on Eight'' (L-R) Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) chat during a news briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Members of the U.S. Senate's ''Gang on Eight'' (L-R) Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) chat during a news briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday sought his fellow conservatives' support for a sweeping immigration bill by arguing that doing nothing is tantamount to "amnesty" for the 11 million people who are living in the United States illegally.

Trying to turn the tables on Republican opponents of the overhaul who say it would grant amnesty to law-breakers, Rubio said deportation of all the 11 million, which some conservatives favor, would never happen.

"We all wish we didn't have this problem, but we do and we have to fix it. Because leaving things the way they are, that's the real amnesty," Rubio said at a news conference.

Rubio spoke the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee starts to examine the immigration bill crafted by Rubio and seven other Republican and Democratic senators.

Rubio, a popular conservative already considered a contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, had been pushing for immigration reform even before the eight senators unveiled their legislation this week.

The Florida senator has been stressing the economic benefits of immigration reform and has been careful not to say the bill creates a special path to citizenship - a non-starter for many conservatives.

The bill requires tougher security at the southern border with Mexico before illegal immigrants are given a chance to apply for citizenship. It also establishes a new program to bring in unskilled foreign laborers and increases the number of work visas for high- and low-skilled workers.

Rubio also took his appeal for the bill to influential conservative Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show on Thursday.

Some Republican lawmakers "have stated pretty strong opposition" to the path to citizenship, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, who is part of the bipartisan Senate group, told reporters after the news conference.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has been a vocal opponent of the plan, warned on Thursday that the bill would hurt U.S. workers and increase federal deficits as millions of undocumented residents eventually gain citizenship and become eligible for government benefits.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is to start working intensively on the bill in May with a goal of making changes before June.

The measure has a chance of passing the Senate, where Democrats control 55 of the 100 seats. However, its prospects are far less rosy in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where members of Rubio's party have started to coalesce around the idea of granting the illegal immigrants legal status but not citizenship.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Sam Youngman; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (2)
AdamSmith wrote:
The amount of money possessed by the wealthy is beyond imagination. That money allows them to control the Senate quite handily.

There are hundreds of lobbying firms in Washington staffed by former Senators and Congressmen. Today, approximately 60% of Senators and Congressman leaving office go to work at these lobbying firms for very high salaries, as well as huge deal opportunities.

Immigration into any country has two clear effects:

1. Immigration increases the supply of labor, thus forcing down wage rates for the citizens.

2. Immigration strains the existing housing supply causing rents and housing costs to go up for the local citizens.

Both these effects make the wealthy employing class even wealthier.

Thus you have both Republicans and Democrats being bribed by the wealthy to continue immigration.

The American middle class is being destroyed by immigration.

Senator Rubio is a friend and lackey to the wealthy, as he stabs the American working man in the back. If betraying the American middle class to foreigners is not treason, then what exactly is treason?

Apr 18, 2013 9:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
This bill is far worse than anyone knows and they are trying to quickly ram it down our throats without reading it.
It rewards illegal immigration by granting work permits and eventually citizenship to those who entered the country prior to 2012.
It also puts the interests of foreign workers ahead of the interests of American workers by increasing legal immigration by at least 50 percent over the next decade.
Illegal aliens would be legalized and get work permits, before a single increase in enforcement to stop future illegal immigration.
Once illegal aliens are granted their green cards years from now, they will qualify for all benefits, including social security, welfare, medicare, medicaid, and even subsidized Obamacare.
The bill will slow down immigration increases only if the unemployment rates surpass 8.5 percent.
Amnestied illegal aliens will qualify as anchors so that their families can legally immigrate; in fact, their whole families will get extra points under the point system.
The Department of Homeland Security can change the point system at any time, without congressional approval.
If we don’t defeat this amnesty, we can look forward to rapid growth in deficits, tens of millions of more people adding stress to our infrastructure and natural resources, jobless rates stuck at eight percent, and tens of millions of able-bodied American workers without a job.
Anyone who wants to make a difference join NumbersUSA to start lobbying your representative and demand this not pass!

Apr 18, 2013 10:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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