In February 2013, Rubio told Time that his mother, Oriales Garcia Rubio, had left him a voice mail urging him to lay off “los pobrecitos” (the poor little ones).

“Tony, some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world,” Rubio’s mother said in Spanish, using her nickname for the senator. “Don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don’t mess with them. They’re human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please, don’t mess with them.”

A few months later, Rubio joined the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in introducing an immigration reform plan that included a path to citizenship. But Rubio later backed away from his own bill, which solidified his reputation as a flip-flopper. He said that the first priority was to secure the border. But he was also getting pressure from constituents who insisted that his support for immigration reform would doom his career. A top Rubio aide told me that the Cuban-American, in those days, was getting nativist hate mail telling him—comically—to “go back to Mexico.”…

Rubio was in favor of an accommodation for DREAMers before he was against it. This is how you make hash. I’m not even sure he knows where he stands, other than a determination to snuggle up to restrictionists by proving that—despite his last name—he hasn’t gone “native.”