By Ken McIntyre
Some conservatives wrote off Marco Rubio as a prospective candidate for president because of the Florida Republican’s work on, and advocacy for, the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill.
The first-term senator began to talk about that legislation as a mistake, though, as he moved toward his April 13 announcement that he was formally entering the race for the White House.
Even so, he mentioned the immigration issue only once as he declared his candidacy at Miami’s Freedom Tower, a former immigrant-intake facility.
“If we reform our tax code, reduce regulations, control spending, modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace Obamacare,” Rubio said about halfway through the speech, “the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.”
“The thing that’s different with Marco is that he’s responded to criticism,” one close observer of policy battles in Congress for an outside group tells The Daily Signal.
Rubio’s problem, this person adds, is that he chose several years ago to make immigration reform his signature domestic issue.
Although not straining to bring up what to do about immigrants already in the country illegally, Rubio, who turned 44 this month, appears to be increasingly comfortable explaining why he decided they should wait longer before the government considers legal status for them.
In a May 1 appearance at a gathering of conservatives sponsored by the National Review Institute, the son of Cuban immigrants forcefully took on liberal activists who claim a “right” for immigrants in the country illegally to become citizens.
“There is no right to illegally immigrate anywhere in the world,” he told the crowd.
“What I’m saying to people is that we can’t do it in a massive piece of legislation,” Rubio said of reforming the immigration system and addressing the status of illegal immigrants in an interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS News that aired April 19 on “Face the Nation.”
He said Americans have a message for their public officials about the more than 12 million living here unlawfully: “We know we have to deal with this. We’re not prepared to deal with this until first you can prove to us that this will never happen again.”
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, says he thinks Rubio has gotten closer to the mark but faces skepticism among conservatives because of his leadership role in promoting the Gang of Eight bill.
“The real question is, are we actually going …read more
Read more here:: Heritage Foundation