Thursday, June 6, 2013

Run For the Border

I have always thought that immigration reform in the present Congress didn’t have much of a chance of passing, and this story pretty much confirms that.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told a conservative radio host on Tuesday that he would vote against a bipartisan immigration reform bill he helped draft unless lawmakers approve an amendment that would limit the Department of Homeland Security’s discretion over border security and potentially lengthen undocumented immigrants’ path to citizenship. The admission comes just months after Rubio described the existing security provisions as “the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States” and the Senate Judiciary Committee added additional national security amendments to the legislation.

“Well, I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time,” Rubio told talker Hugh Hewitt, saying that he wouldn’t vote for the measure.

Rubio’s comments are a stark contrast from how he described the reform bill — crafted by a group of bipartisan senators — during his appearances on six Sunday talk shows in April and in countless interviews with conservative talk show hosts.

Not to put too cynical a point on it, but this is how I figured it would go down as soon as the Republicans saw that it was giving traction to President Obama.  The excuse about border security is, as the Car Talk guys would put it, “bo-oh-oh-gus.”  Border security is already as high as it has ever been, certainly more than it was before Obama took office (as are the number of deportations), so this tactic is just another diversion.  If it wasn’t this, it would be something else, like the quota on the number of left-handed Swedes getting work visas.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Rubio spins this to his advantage.  This was supposed to be his signature issue, the one that would convince both the moderates and the fringers that he could broker a deal.  After all, he’s the Republican savior, right?