The Judiciary Committee markup of S. 744 exposed the Gang of Eight legislation as an amnesty-first bill. Given multiple opportunities to vote on amendments that would require concrete enforcement before illegal aliens could apply for legal status and work permits, the bill's sponsors voted "no" (see Chris Chmielenski's live blogging on the mark up). At the same time, they sent their chief spokesman, Sen. Rubio to Fox News to deceive the public.
By voting down amendments from Senators Grassley and Cruz to require enforcement before the amnesty process would begin, the Senate Judiciary Committee left the amnesty-first foundation of the bill in tact. That is to say, as soon as Secretary Napolitano submits two plans (one to secure a border she has already deemed secure; another to say where she thinks fencing should be added) - as soon as those two plans are submitted, the bill would allow 11 million illegal aliens to apply for legal status, Social Security Numbers, and work permits to seek jobs alongside 20 million unemployed Americans.
The enforcement-first amendments failed but Senators Grassley, Cornyn, and Sessions were able to expose the amnesty-first nature of the bill that the Gang of Eight's top spokesperson, Senator Rubio has desperately tried to hide from the public. His appearance Thursday on Fox News was a marked display of deception.
As the conservative ambassador for the Gang of Eight, Sen. Rubio must have been aware of the recent Fox News polling that suggests the public's support for a "path to citizenship" hinges on whether or not enforcement measures come first. He must be aware that the same polling finds the public rejects immigration increases of any kind.
The Fox News segment introduced Senator Rubio with this:
"Proponents point to security hurdles or triggers the bill requires before the rest can be implemented. Senator Marco Rubio, the bill's most vocal conservative advocate, concedes the border security hurdle could be the tallest."
(I can only assume that by "security hurdles or triggers," Fox News means the two Napolitano-submitted plans mentioned above. They are the only things required before "the rest" of the bill is set in motion.)
Then Rubio said: "The trigger means something must happen before green cards are given to people that used to illegally be here."
Rubio is a skilled politician. He knows there are no enforcement triggers before illegal aliens get legalized (amnesty). But he understandably didn't want to get into that in front of Fox News' audience, so he jumped to green cards, most of which would be granted a full 10 years (to hide costs) after illegal aliens get their amnesty.
Rubio was even more deceptive - to the point of flat out misrepresenting his bill - later in the interview when Fox News raised the issue of future immigration. Sen. Sessions discussed his estimate of 50 million new foreign job seekers (30 million permanent + 20 million temporary) being added in the first ten years alone due to Rubio's bill: "a big percentage of those," Sessions said, "will be low-skilled workers competing with unemployed Americans."
Rubio responded with "The idea that somehow 11 million people will be legalized in one day, one week, one month, or even one year is absurd." I looked back and couldn't find where Sessions had suggested such a thing but Rubio must have gone into the interview with a mission to sell the public on triggers so he continued:
"They have to undergo a background check, a national security check, they have to prove they've been here continuously since December of 2011, they have to pay a fine and start paying taxes, they have to pay an application fee, and they don't qualify for any federal benefits. Every business has to comply with e-verify. You won't be able to hire illegals unless you're willing to pay enormous taxes and face jail time if you do it on purpose." (emphasis mine)
There is no E-Verify trigger for "11 million people to be legalized" in Rubio's bill.
Maybe Rubio got carried away, maybe he got confused - maybe he was the victim of editing (you can see a blip just before he mentions E-Verify) - maybe the pressure to invent actual enforcement was just too much. Whatever the reason, Rubio misled millions of viewers with that statement.
The Gang of Eight didn't do Rubio any favors by sending him out to obscure the amnesty-first nature of their bill on the same day Schumer, Durbin, Flake, and Graham were voting down enforcement-first amendments. But that doesn't justify the level of deception he undertook on Thursday.
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, May 10th 2013 @ 2:18pm EDT