States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona’s policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem. From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation.Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants and obviously holds the issue near and dear to his heart. He certainly knows the issues with border control officials cracking down on illegals crossing into Florida. The much-heralded "wet feet, dry feet" policy can't be observed without substantial empathy for the Cubans involved. And realistically, government does take a mile when given an inch.
While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.
But feeling bad for immigrants isn't a reason to open our borders to the types of illegal passage that Rubio is clearly advocating. Immigration is one of those issues where you can't have it both ways. You can either stop people based on reasonable suspicion, or you can have reasonable suspicion and not be able — or at least not be encouraged — to stop them.
Rubio spoke of different methods to help the problem: "securing the border, reforming the visa and entry process, and cracking down on employers who exploit illegal immigrants." Those are great, but it doesn't solve the big elephant in the room, which is illegals flooding through borders and taking up residence in the Grand Canyon State.
Rubio's position might curry favor with his strong Cuban-American base, and it may even resonate with some middle-of-the-road Florida Republicans. But it won't resonate with the national audience that the candidate has used to propel himself into the electoral stratosphere. This could be a big risk for him.