Everybody in Washington is looking to see the fall-out from the marathon TV gig by 2016 Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Did he convince the American people that he did not break his Senate campaign promise in 2010 that he would oppose amnesties for illegal aliens?
The front page of the Washington Post trumpeted:
Rubio takes big risk on immigrant legislation
Senator's endorsement of bipartisan plan could prove costly in 2016
In a nutshell, Sen. Rubio admitted yesterday that his bill with the Gang of Eight will give some 11 million illegal aliens work permits and legal residency in the first year without any guarantees of extra enforcement on the borders or at the workplace. Pretty much like every promise of enforcement since the first amnesty in 1986.
His is not an "enforcement first" bill but an "Amnesty First and Enforcement Later -- Maybe" bill.
WHAT ABOUT RUBIO'S CLAIM THAT HIS BILL IS NOT AN AMNESTY BECAUSE IT REQUIRES FINES?
Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) probably will never admit that his bill is an amnesty because he promised in his tough primary fight in 2010 that he would oppose the amnesty that his opponent and that his Republican predecessor had voted for in 2007. His anti-amnesty stance was an important reason he was able to beat the formerly popular retiring Republican governor of his state.
On the Sunday TV shows, Rubio said his bill is not an amnesty because it doesn't "forgive" people for breaking immigration laws.
Our immigration laws say that the primary consequence of illegally residing in the U.S. and illegally taking a U.S. job is that you have to give up the job and leave the country.
Rubio's bill says you don't have to give up the job or leave the country.
That's an amnesty.
He says it isn't an amnesty because you have to pay a $2,000 fine and do such horrific things as undergo a criminal background check, learn English and wait a decade to be allowed to vote.
But you still get the legal residency and the legal right to the job the first year.
WHAT ABOUT THE ARDUOUS WAIT THAT RUBIO SAYS ILLEGAL ALIENS MUST ENDURE?
One thing that seems pretty certain is that illegal aliens won't be able to get U.S. citizenship for at least 13 years. (The 2007 amnesty that the grassroots defeated made them wait 17 years.)
Rubio is also promising that the bill won't allow the mostly less-educated, low-income illegal aliens to access the 80+ federal public assistance programs until after 10 years.
Rubio's media offensive is trying to sell the idea that his bill won't give the amnesty for many, many years. In fact, though, it is an "instant amnesty" because in the first year it will give legal residency and legal jobs.
But as much polling and journalistic interviews have found, most illegal aliens do not come to the U.S. for citizenship. They come to have access to all the country's educational, social and physical infrastructure and to grab a U.S. job.
That's precisely what Rubio's bill gives the illegal aliens at the very beginning after the bill passes.
This isn't just an amnesty. It's an INSTANT AMNESTY.
WHAT ABOUT RUBIO'S CLAIMS OF WRITING THE TOUGHEST ENFORCEMENT MEASURES IN U.S. HISTORY?
These claims are mostly empty.
Nearly every form of enforcement that the bill promises -- or maybe just recommends -- was also promised in the 1986, 1990 and 1996 immigration acts.
But those promises were never kept because there were never any guarantees in the bills.
Rubio admits that there are no guarantees in his bill, either. There are no hard triggers. Plus, remember that illegal aliens get most everything they want before any efforts at enforcement even begin. Where will be the incentive for the government (Lucy) not to pull away the footbal (enforcement) this time, too?
For a year, Sen. Rubio has been setting himself as the nation's advocate on correcting the immigration mess. He has repeatedly promised that he would not stick with the Gang's bill if it didn't guarantee a better outcome on enforcement than previous amnesties.
Everything he and the Gang have said about the bill -- and everything we have seen to date -- suggests that he has failed to deliver on all accounts.
It is up to individual American citizens to let their Senators know that they do not consider Marco Rubio to be there advocate or to represent their views in any way on setting immigration policy.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA