Marco Rubio picks up the issue of immigration reform today on CNN, as a few media analysts note that Mitt Romney has remained rather quiet on the topic. Rather than focus on Romney, though, Rubio argues that Democrats proved conclusively in 2009-10 that they don’t take the issue seriously at all. During that period, Democrats had a large majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate, along with a few Republicans willing to work on comprehensive immigration reform. How many proposals on the issue came to the floor? None, Rubio reminds us, because Democrats only value the issue as an opportunity for demagoguery rather than solutions:
Rubio offered the same position last night with Greta van Susteren on Fox:
Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday blamed Washington’s inability to produce a comprehensive immigration policy on Democrats who prefer that the issue remain unresolved so they can continue to leverage it to win the Hispanic vote.
“I think there are some people in the Democratic Party that think that the immigration issue’s more valuable to them unsolved, that it gives them something to talk about, that they can go back to Hispanic communities and make unrealistic promises every two years and win votes,” Rubio (R-Fla.) said in an appearance on “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
He added, “For some Democrats, the issue of immigration is better politically if they just leave it the way it is right now because they can use it against Republicans.”
Rubio stressed in both appearances that the GOP needs to be the party of full-throated support for legal immigration. Rubio plans to roll out an answer to the Democrats’ DREAM Act in the near future that might test that theory. While the Democrats’ version creates a path for citizenship, Rubio’s would prevent such an outcome by using a new kind of non-immigrant visa that would specifically require recipients to get back in line when it expires. It will require much more in terms of documentation than the Obama-favored version, and it intends to close off access to in-state tuition and federal aid. Rubio hopes that his version will garner a bipartisan coalition that will rob Democrats of the opportunity to demagogue, or if not, to expose that demagoguery for what it is. These appearances are preparing the debating space for what comes next.