President Obama has spoiled the well for immigration reform with his administration’s arbitrary handling of Obamacare, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the Florida Republican said the hard feelings stemming from the Obamacare-fueled fight in the first half of October are only a part of the problem immigration faces on Capitol Hill.
The spotty, inconsistent enforcement of the law – including exemptions and delays for small businesses – hasn’t helped, he said.
The immigration bill Rubio championed passed the Senate in July. It is now in the House, where Republicans have already made it clear they have no intention of passing a comprehensive reform law.
Since those are the same House Republicans that have been attacked by the White House, congressional Democrats and the media echo chamber for the past month as “reckless,” or hostage-takers, or terrorists, it’s a fair bet they won’t be receptive to Democratic entreaties any time soon.
“Immigration is going to a lot harder to accomplish than it was three weeks ago,” said Rubio, who put his own standing among conservatives at risk by pushing the bill.
The administration’s treatment of the Affordable Care Act like a menu of options rather than a law to be obeyed and enforced built suspicion the administration will take a similarly cavalier approach to immigration, he said.
“Look at the health-care law,” Rubio said. “The law is on the books. They decide what parts to apply and what not to apply.”
That makes an immigration bill that includes both a path to citizenship and stricter enforcement easy to distrust, he said.
“What’s not to say this White House won’t come back and cancel the enforcement part of it?” he said. “The president has undermined this effort.”
However, he held out hope that some progress is possible.
The House, he said, deserves “time and space” to come up with its own proposals.
Check out the Rubio’s interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace here: