Rubio is becoming persona non grata among Latinos outside of the Cuban American community, which represents only 3 percent of the Latino population in the United States. Specifically, he is becoming intensely disliked by many naturalized Mexicans and Mexican Americans, who make up as much as 67 percent of the U.S. Latino population. Those voters could affect the electoral outcome in battleground states such as Colorado and New Mexico, and in vote-rich states such as Texas and California.
All this has happened because, since arriving in Washington, Rubio has followed his party’s pitiful example of dealing with the immigration issue in a clumsy, reactionary and unimaginative way.
A few months ago, the Miami Herald reported that conservative activists in Florida — including members of the Tea Party — were pushing Rubio to take a hard line on immigration. They complained that the issue wasn’t even listed on his Web site and that Rubio hadn’t co-sponsored any legislation to beef up immigration enforcement.
So Rubio joined the feel-good but do-nothing effort in Congress — led by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) — to make it mandatory for businesses to participate in the “E-Verify” program, which is supposed to tell them whether a Social Security number is authentic.