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What we need to learn about Marco Rubio and comprehensive immigration reform

The Washington Post offers some fluffy reporting about Sen. Marco Rubio’s participation in the Gang of Eight. We learn that Rubio was first approached by Sen. Durbin, his workout partner, in the Senate’s members only gym early one December morn.

We learn that Rubio was added to the “Gang” after Senate Majority Leader McConnell made it clear to Sens. McCain and Graham that Rubio’s participation would be crucial to winning conservative support. Thanks, Mitch.

We learn that Rubio and Sen. Schumer talked on the phone in March after Rubio denied Schumer’s suggestion that the Gang had reached final agreement. It seems that Schumer’s feelings were hurt.

Beyond the fluff and the pseudo-drama, we learn one important thing: when Gang members reached out to other key conservatives interested in immigration reform, they were rebuffed because of the Gang’s insistence on granting illegal aliens a path to citizenship.

Thus, we learn that “Graham and McCain initially attempted to recruit conservative Sen. Mike Lee, but he declined to endorse a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.” Similarly, Rubio “spent a lot of time discussing his ideas with Rep. Raul R. Labrador, a fellow tea party conservative and Latino who did not support giving citizenship to undocumented residents.”

It is at the path to citizenship, then, where Rubio parts company with other solid conservatives who believe in some form of significant immigration reform legislation. And so it is here that Rubio must explain himself.

But it is here that Rubio seems most reluctant to explain. He talks about how we already have de facto amnesty, about how we need more legal immigrants, and so forth. But Sen. Lee, Rep. Labrador, and many other conservatives agree with Rubio on these points. They just think a path to citizenship is a bridge too far.

In this context, to talk about de facto amnesty, the need for more legal immigrants, etc. is evasion and smoke-screen. Why does Rubio support a path to citizenship? Does he believe that illegal aliens are entitled to become U.S. citizens? Or does he believe they are not, but is willing to cave in order to obtain the supposed other benefits of immigration reform?

I don’t know and the Washington Post doesn’t say.

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