The sight of Marco Rubio knocking Donald Trump—or anyone—for allegedly being weak on illegal immigration is a sight to behold. Nor is it any less bemusing to hear Rubio (repeatedly) criticize Trump for being a “con-artist.”
There is no one in this presidential race, save perhaps Hillary Clinton, with a stronger command of con-artistry than Rubio.
Of course, everyone now knows that Rubio, via his enablers in “conservative” talk radio, aggressively promoted a “pathway to citizenship,” i.e. amnesty, on behalf of the Gang of Eight. Even though Rubio denies that he ever favored amnesty (while self-contradictorily confessing to having learned his lesson on this score), his opponents—those who know the truth about his past—have succeeded in branding him with the “A” word.
However, it is when we look at Rubio’s history here that we see the depths of his dishonesty.
Keli Carender, a self-described “30-something Ditto Head” and “founder of the modern day American Tea Party movement,” authored an article last month entitled: “Rush [Limbaugh], I Love You, But You’re Dead Wrong About Marco Rubio.” The latter she describes as a “sleazy snake” whose “electability is a myth.”
In 2003, when he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Rubio co-sponsored a version of the DREAM Act: The bill allowed illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition if they decided to attend college. Carender notes that Rubio stood by this position as recently as this past January, remarking that it didn’t “legalize” anyone and established specific eligibility standards.
In 2006, when Rubio was Speaker of the Florida House, he blocked six immigration enforcement bills from even being debated. The commonsense measures in the bills—provisions “denying public benefits to illegal aliens, denying public jobs to illegal aliens, and a memorandum of understanding between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement to remove criminal aliens”—Rubio condemned as “draconian.”
It wasn’t until Rubio began his run for the state Senate against the pro-amnesty Charlie Crist that he began whistling a dramatically different tune. Carender notes that Rubio witnessed the massive voter pushback against Crist’s position and recalibrated accordingly.
On December 22, 2009, Rubio met with Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, the leader of the Tea Party of Fort Lauderdale, and a local Tea Party activist. Carender recalls: “He looked them in the eyes and promised that he heard them; he would opposed any form of legalization, including the DREAM Act and amnesty, for anyone that was in the country illegally.”
Carender quotes Rubio’s remarks from a Tampa Bay Times article from 2009. Then, Rubio declared that “amnesty…will destroy any hope of having a legal immigration system that works.” He opposed the DREAM Act and even said—wait for it!—that an “earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty” (emphases added).
So Rubio admitted then that what he would co-sponsor a few years later was indeed amnesty.
Yet Carender continues, alluding to another Youtube interview in which Rubio insists that amnesty is indefensible. We can’t, “in essence…say, ‘Look, well you’ve been here for so long that even though you broke the law we’re going to let you stay,’” The problem with this is that “it demoralizes the people that are going through the legal process [.]” Moreover, “it demoralizes the people enforcing the law.”
To those who may object that Rubio’s Gang of Eight plan was not amnesty because it affixed penalties to law-breakers, Carender has a reply ready at hand: Rubio’s own words from 2010. Six years ago, Rubio said that amnesty “in any form, whether it’s back of the line or so forth,” will “destroy any chance we will ever have of having a legal immigration system that works here in America” (emphases added).
In an interview with Human Eventsfrom 2010, Rubio unequivocally rejected any pathway to citizenship. “Well,” he remarked, “we have a path for citizenship. It’s called coming legally into this country.” As for those who have already entered illegally: “You can’t do it.”
Rubio even said that while “it’s gonna feel weird” for “young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age [and] who don’t even speak Spanish…to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place,” in order “to have an immigration policy that works,” deportations there must be.
Rubio added that if we “provide a path for people to enter this country illegally,” people who ‘stay[ed] here long enough and pa[id] enough in taxes,” then “why would anyone come in through the legal process?”
Conservative movement giant, the inimitable Phyllis Schafly, agrees with Carender’s assessment of Rubio.
Schlafly claims to have been the first person to endorse Rubio when he ran against Crist for the Senate. She regrets her decision now. “He said he was against amnesty and against the establishment. And once he got in, right away, he became an agent of the establishment. And now, of course, he’s big for amnesty and letting all the illegal immigrants in.”
Schlafly’s verdict is that Rubio “betrayed us all…a number of times” on the issue of illegal immigration/amnesty” (emphasis added).
And Schlafly is incredulous at how blatant—“so public”—Rubio’s betrayal has been.
“He’s a lackey for the establishment now,” she said, “an establishment agent.”
The next time we hear Rubio or any of his boosters accuse Trump of being a “con-artist,” we’d be well served to recall the depths to which Rubio himself has gone to advance his own interests.