Rubio responds to RedState critique on immigration

marcorubio2RedState managing editor Erick Erickson wrote Tuesday that he did not like Sen. Marco Rubio‘s plan on immigration reform. Calling it “warmed over McCain-Kennedy,” he says he does not believe it will solve the problem of our broken immigration system.

Looking at it from a free market perspective, Erickson referred to Rubio’s approach as “a plan based on faith in government.”

“Immigration is an issue that keeps Hispanic voters from trusting the GOP,” Erickson wrote. “Many call it a “gateway” issue. I get that. But pandering in the name of a solution does not actually fix the problem.”

In a press release Wednesday, Rubio responded, “To leave things the way they are now is de facto amnesty and a barrier to accomplishing important government reforms in other areas. It is no way to run a nation of immigrants.”

Given the opportunity to respond to Erickson’s critique on RedState, Rubio wrote:

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Erick’s post last night regarding the principles for immigration reform I have recently developed. Before diving into the details of the plan, I want to take a moment to point out how the debate about immigration reflects positively on the conservative movement in general. Unlike the left, whose default tactic is to attack and destroy the personal character of those who disagree with their views, the conservative movement is capable of accommodating a vibrant internal debate on important issues solely on the merits. RedState has always been a welcoming forum for that sort of debate.

First, let me identify the problem we face. We have a legal immigration system that doesn’t work, we don’t have an effective system to enforce our immigration laws, and we have by some estimates as many as 11 million human beings living in the United States without the proper immigration documents in a state of de facto amnesty. It’s a problem that has both political and economic ramifications on our nation.

On the political front, a growing number of voters of Asian and Hispanic descent have been convinced by the left that conservative opposition to immigration reform equates to being anti-immigrant. This is unfair, and it is untrue. But they have pulled it off and, as a result, our ability to convince these fast-growing communities that the principles of limited government and free enterprise are better for them than big government and collectivism has been impaired.

The economic ramifications, however, are even more serious. For example, our technology sector creates roughly 120,000 computer engineering jobs a year, but our universities only graduate about 40,000 students a year in that field. The long term answer, of course, is to get more American students to graduate in this field. But the immediate problem is that, in the absence of an immigration system where these workers can be brought here, these jobs are sent overseas to them.

Another example is in agriculture, where a stable and affordable domestic supply of food is critical to our national security and our quality of life. Agriculture has always required a significant work force from abroad, but we do not have a system through which growers and dairies can bring a workforce legally into the U.S.

This broken system of immigration, combined with lax enforcement, has resulted in our illegal immigration problem.

In an ideal world, we could go back to 1986 and rewrite the immigration reform efforts implemented then to account for these issues and to ensure that real enforcement measures would be implemented. But in the real world, we cannot do that. We have to deal with what we have in the best way possible and make sure that this never ever happens again.

The principles I have proposed to deal with this issue are not perfect, but I believe they create a framework for dealing with this reality in a responsible and reasonable way. And I think conservatives have already won important concessions from Democrats that we can build on to shape the actual legislation.

First, we would modernize our legal immigration system. In essence, we create one that meets the needs this country has in this new century. For example, while I support our family-based system of immigration, we can no longer afford to have less than ten percent of our immigration based on skill and talent. We need a functional guest worker program so that, in times of low unemployment and rapid economic growth, our industries have the labor they need to continue growing. And we need an agricultural worker program that allows our growers to contract the seasonal and year round labor they need legally.

Second, we need real enforcement mechanisms. An employment verification system is the key to this. We have the technology to implement such a system, so we just need to do it. Over 40 percent of our illegal immigrants entered legally and overstayed their visas. That’s why we need to have a complete system of tracking the entry and exit of visitors, using the technologies available to us today. And we need to achieve control of our borders. This is not just an immigration issue; this is a national security and sovereignty issue. And it can be done. The southern border is actually divided into nine separate sectors. There has been progress made in some sectors and not enough on others. We need to establish the high probability of intercepting illegal crossings in each of these sectors in a timely and effective manner.

And third, we have to deal with those who are here now without documents. I am not happy about the fact that we face this problem. But we do. Most of these are people who will be here for the rest of their lives with or without documents, so it is in our best interest to deal with them and to make sure this never happens again.

Read Rubio’s full post here.


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9 thoughts on “Rubio responds to RedState critique on immigration

  1. Kathy says:

    I'm a strong supporter of Senator Rubio and very proud to have him representing our State. I appreciate his dedication and commitment to this issue but can't understand how replacing federal laws that haven't been enforced for decades with new federal laws that won't be enforced either, will solve our immigration problem. I can't tell you how many times I've had spanish-speaking people call my house and leave messages on my answering machine looking for the "free and reduced school lunch program". They speak in broken english and ask to have someone who speaks spanish call them back. I have no idea how they got my phone number. It always makes me wonder if they're even here legally considering the fact that the federal government has been accommodating millions more than it deports at the expense of the taxpayers. Due to this consistent failure, I believe immigration should be an issue solely left up to the States.

  2. Ted says:

    Senator Rubio has to come up with something new. He is one of those individuals that thinks that if you keep talking, you can say whatever was needed because its in there "somewhere". So far, I haven't seen anything substantial in his representation of Florida. I know a lot about his record before being senator, and it was also one of being very careful to always come out on the winning side. I think this caution will be his undoing. Watch his speeches and comments. Always lots of words, but, no substance. I want to say that he, as the senator for Florida, is almost like not having anyone there. Just saying…

  3. I agree this is simply a rehash of the McCain-Kennedy immigration plan. It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to this new amnesty attempt. However, it appears the only way to truly solve our immigration issues with Mexico is for Mexico to address it's basic economic issues and the ongoing drug war. If the citizens of Mexico have similar economic opportunities and public safety expectiations, they would stay in Mexico. As long as the magnet of opportunity and safety (in addition to all of the current incentives-anchor babies, free education, welfare benefits etc. etc.) exists north of the Mexico border, they will come despite Senator Rubio's last comment: " so it is in our best interest to deal with them and to make sure this never happens again." Dream on, and on and on……….. My suggestion, curtail the benefits, enforce existing law and pray that Mexico can get it's house in order. Otherwise, it will continue to be more of the same; amnesty now and more illegals later.

  4. Mo Better says:

    As they say in Texas, Rubio is all 'belt and buckle'. I don't see any substance there as it appears his primary motivation in everything he does is to safely and cautiously advance his political career, regardless of the consequences of his decision on any particular issue.

    I agree with Ted, who said that Rubio as Senator from Florida is like having no one there. Given the libtard, Bill Nelson, is our other Senator there definitely isn't anyone representing the interests of decent, patriotic Floridians.

  5. zoner says:

    agriculture in the USA has Always relied on foreign labor……really?? back that statement up, Mr Rubio.

    we can't amend the 1986 immigration statutes……really?? then what the hell do we need any of you clowns in D.C. for?

    we can't fill tech jobs with Americans……really??? tell my unemployed American IT friends that !! pure BS !!

    we have to just accept that the illegal invaders will stay here for life……really?? yeah, Senator, that's good!! just ignore the current problem, which IS correctible, and talk about some watered-down policy that allows even more people to flood into our country- "legally."

    Rubio is a politician, plain & simple. America is going right down the crapper and as long as the ignorant masses keep EITHER of the two parties in power, it will be the same inept, corrupt, misguided, and disfunctional mess we have now.

  6. zoner says:

    put me in a position of authority, give me the resources i need, and i GUARANTEE you i could clean-up this illegal immigrant debacle.

    -we militarize our southern border; shot or arrested if crossing attempted(after being forewarned)

    -charge Mexico x-number of barrels of oil for each illegal arrested and deported; will help our gas prices and stop the illegals at their source

    -give the invaders an ultimatum to leave our country. PERIOD ! no "pathway" to citizenship, etc, etc. failure to comply will result in arrest and immediate deportation; they must also leave all assets gained while here illegally.

    -there's more, but you get the idea……it CAN be done! i know my measures seem harsh, but the bastards in D.C. have caused it to get to the point where nothing short of severe action will solve the problems. of course, the spineless party drones NEVER will get it done; they're too worried about their political careers.

    yes, i would get it done. and i'm just an average American with no special talents or abilities. how come these "experienced" and "wise" leaders can't? answer: they can, but won't.

  7. rifraffe says:

    OK, now that everyone has had their macho moment "What I would do if I were King of the World!" Back to reality. There are 11 million illegals, most of them of Hispanic descent and many many millions more of their fellow Hispanics who are here legally or were born here. The democrats have and will continue to lock up this growng and imortant voting block over this one issue! Rubio understands, and if you read his words you will too, that this is a problem that is not going away. So, for everybody's sake, let's bite the bullet and deal with it in a bi-partisan way. At least if we conservatives are in on the discussion we can have some input into the border security component. Otherwise, as Rubio states clearly and intelligently, we are going to have this problem over and over again. It was hard-headed republicans, princiipled and of high integrity no question, who absented themselves from the last election. How is THAT working out for us?!

  8. MiddleMan says:

    Agrees with rifraffe! We conservatives can refuse to discuss the matter until the other side see's it our way while they happily just do it their way or we can enter the conversation and have some influence over the outcome. In the end, we will not have a perfectly conservative solution but, it just might not be quite so liberal either. On this issue, we would probably benefit form an attitude of "do something, even if its wrong". If you think that Rubio is all talk and no action, give him the green light and see what he accomplishes… could it really get any worse?

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