Audio: Rubio blasts federal failures as cause of AZ action on immigration

Marco Rubio positions himself masterfully on the controversy over Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law when speaking with Trey Radel on his Fort Myers radio show this morning. Like some conservatives, he has concerns about how law enforcement will apply the new rules, and certainly has the same hesitancy to endorse state-by-state solutions as other national Republican groups. At the same time, he points the finger back at the people running Homeland Security for creating the underlying problem of failing to protect Arizonans from the detrimental effects of illegal immigration. The money quote comes near the beginning of the clip:

RADIO HOST: “Let’s get right to it. Right now, our topic, a lot of callers fired up in support of this new law in Arizona. The crackdown on illegal immigration – where do you stand on it?”

MARCO RUBIO: “Well, let’s take a deep breath first and realize where we are. This is inevitable that this was going happen somewhere, particularly in
Arizona. I was there about two months ago and the people there are – this is not even an immigration issue to them. This is a law enforcement issue.
You’ve got kidnappings and murders and gang violence pouring over the border in an uncontrolled fashion. The bottom line is the Federal government has completely failed to enforce Federal immigration laws, much less make them stronger and more effective. We have a legal immigration system that doesn’t work. And so it is inevitable that eventually some state was going to take action.

“And I’m not going to sit here and criticize a state that’s taken action, in defense of what they’ve done. I will tell you that I don’t think this is the
best way to have handled it. I think the best way for this issue to ultimately be handled is for the Federal government to do its job. And the job of the Federal government is to enforce the immigration laws we have, to make sure that to the extent we have to come up with new technologies,
whether it’s border security or a fence or fixing the visa program – that the Federal government can handle that. You know, the Federal government is
involved in so many things that are none of its business. This is one the things the Federal government should be involved in. And the fact that it has failed to do it in an effective way has led to this. And we certainly can’t have 50 different immigration policies in 50 different states.

“Now here’s my fear: my fear is that the Obama administration is going to use this as an excuse to go forward with some sort of an amnesty bill. I’ve
never supported amnesty. I think amnesty would be terrible for America’s future. Quite frankly, I think amnesty is terrible for legal immigration. If
you were to grant amnesty, you will never be able to have a legal immigration system that works in America.

Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform want to blame this on a failure of Congress to overhaul existing legislation in the past few years, but that doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s not as if we have no laws against illegal immigration, or no agency to handle it.  We have the Department of Homeland Security, which absorbed what is now called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is tasked with enforcing existing laws on immigration, securing the border, and accurately tracking visas.  There has been no political will in the executive branch to execute this mission properly, and that’s the real problem.

Besides, if we can’t rely on DHS and ICE to enforce laws now, why should we trust them to enforce them after a Congressional overhaul?  Instead of debating ways to juggle the laws, Congress should start by demanding proper enforcement of the laws in place.  We might find that when those laws get enforced properly, we don’t need to overhaul them at all.