The 2013 Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill is the signature achievement of Marco Rubio’s four years and ten months in the U.S. Senate. Yet in the first four Republican presidential debates, in which Rubio has played an increasingly prominent role, he has not been asked even once about the specifics of the legislation.
Despite that omission, it seems likely that if Rubio continues to rise in the GOP race, someone, somewhere will pay attention to his most important accomplishment. The 1,197-page Gang of Eight bill is so far-reaching, and at the same time so detailed, that it provides a sharp picture of where Rubio would like to take the U.S. immigration system. Rubio has renounced parts of his own work, but it’s not clear which parts, and it’s not clear if he has renounced them for good or only until he determines they are more politically practicable.
So until Rubio faces the inevitable questioning about his work, here are some of features of the Gang of Eight legislation that might attract discussion as the Republican race goes forward.