Media outlets are pointing out Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) shifting position on immigration reform after the presidential hopeful changed his position on ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). While Rubio previously supported eliminating the program after comprehensive immigration reform was in place, he recently stated he'd eliminate it regardless. This shift follows a push by conservative media figures who have long criticized Rubio for his immigration stances.
Marco Rubio Announces He Would End Program That Shields Undocumented Immigrants Brought To The U.S. As Children From Deportation
CNN: Rubio Announces Plan To Eliminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. At a November 4 campaign event in New Hampshire, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which gives temporary amnesty to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Rubio told reporters that “he would do so even if Congress does not put an end to the policy” :
Marco Rubio reiterated Wednesday that he would end the program that shields undocumented immigrants brought here as children, a signature but controversial achievement of President Barack Obama.
Rubio told reporters twice in New Hampshire that he would do so even if Congress does not put an end to the policy, guaranteed by a 2012 executive order, through comprehensive immigration reform.
“It will have to end. It can't be the permanent policy of the United States,” Rubio told CNN's Dana Bash after a town hall in Nashua. “I've said that consistently. I don't think we should be signing new people up to it. If you haven't applied by now, it's been three years, almost four, and I don't think, when it comes time to extend it, we should extend it.” [CNN, 11/4/15]
Media Call Out Rubio's “Notable Shift On Immigration”
Politico: Rubio Made A “Notable Shift On Immigration.” In a November 4 article, Politico wrote that Rubio has gradually moved away from his previous support of immigration reform, and in a “subtle but notable shift” he “sharpened his position” and called for the repeal of DACA. The article explained that Rubio had previously called for the executive action to be repealed once Congress “passed immgration reform” to replace it, but now Rubio feels “DACA will have to end, even if Congress never hands him an immigration bill to sign if he is elected as president” :
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took a subtle but notable shift on immigration on Wednesday, declaring that he would end a program designed to protect young undocumented immigrants in the United States, even if a congressional overhaul doesn't happen under his watch.
Previously, Rubio had said as president he would not immediately revoke the so-called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- a 2012 directive from President Barack Obama that shielded so-called DREAMers who came here illegally at a young age from being deported.
Rubio indicated that he hoped the program would end because lawmakers would have passed immigration reform to replace the executive action.
But on Wednesday in New Hampshire, Rubio sharpened his position: DACA will have to end, even if Congress never hands him an immigration bill to sign if he is elected as president.
The Florida senator - who played a key role in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform efforts in 2013 - conveyed similar remarks earlier this year, but expressed less urgency about revoking Obama's action. [Politico, 11/4/15]
The Washington Post: Rubio Is Shifting To A “Hard-Line Posture” On Immigration. In a November 4 article, The Washington Post reported that Rubio “went further than he has before” on immigration, “hardening his opposition” on DACA. The Post highlighted his multiple “shifts on the issue” of immigration reform from once “co-sponsor[ing] ... comprehensive immigration legislation in the Senate” to calling for DACA to end with reforms, to his current stance of ending DACA without reforms put in place. From The Washington Post:
Marco Rubio committed Wednesday to ending President Obama's controversial program for child immigrants even if Congress doesn't create an acceptable alternative, hardening his opposition in the wake of criticism by presidential rival Donald Trump.
Rubio went further than he has before in demonstrating his commitment to ending Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is loathed by many conservatives.
Rubio had previously said the program would have to end eventually but left unclear whether he would end it without reforms. In an interview in the spring with Fusion's Jorge Ramos, Rubio said he was not calling for DACA “to be revoked tomorrow or this week or right away” and said he hoped “it would end because of some reform to the immigration laws.” [The Washington Post, 11/4/15]
Huffington Post: Rubio “Backed Away” From Previous Position On DACA. In a November 4 article, The Huffington Post detailed Rubio's changing stance on immigration policy, highlighting how the Republican presidential hopeful had “been getting grief for saying he wouldn't end [DACA] immediately.” The article noted that while Rubio's “comments were similar to past ones” there was a “crucial difference: Previously he had emphasized that he wanted reform passed first” :
Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he'd eventually end protections for young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children -- a move that would take away the ability to work legally from tens of thousands of so-called Dreamers.
Rubio, the Florida senator who helped draft a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, has said previously that he would continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until it can be replaced with immigration reform passed through Congress.
That stance has come under fire from conservatives, however, who have accused him of continuing President Barack Obama's amnesty programs.
He backed away from that position Wednesday.
“It will have to end at some point,” he said at an event in New Hampshire, according to Bloomberg Politics, adding that it would be “ideal” if it ended because Congress enacted reform.
“But if it doesn't, it will end,” Rubio continued, according to Bloomberg Politics. “It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States.”
The comments were similar to past ones, but with one crucial difference: Previously he had emphasized that he wanted reform passed first. [Huffington Post, 11/4/15]
New York Magazine: “Rubio Flips On Immigration.” In a November 5 article, New York Magazine detailed Rubio's shifting positions on immigration reform and DACA criticizing the candidate for “adopting a more extreme immigration stance for political purposes” :
Immigration is a dicey issue for Rubio. Two years ago, he co-authored a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but after it failed to get a vote in the House, the senator backed away from his own bill, and said he supports a piecemeal approach to reform. According to Rubio, that's a strategy shift, not a flip-flop. Regardless, he compounded the awkwardness of his Trump attack just a few hours later when he revealed that as president he would end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, even if no other form of immigration reform has been passed.
“This program's now been around for three years and we haven't signed it by now ... we're not going to extend the program,” Rubio said on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. “DACA is going to end. The ideal way for it to end would be it's replaced by a reform system that creates an alternative but if it doesn't it will end. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States.”
In April, Rubio said that while he doesn't want the policy to be around forever, he wants to enact other reforms before repealing the executive action. “I don't think we can immediately revoke that,” Rubio told Univision's Jorge Ramos. “I think it will have to end at some point and I hope it will end because of some reforms to the immigration laws. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States. But I'm not calling for it to be revoked tomorrow or this week or right away.”
Rubio says he's still open to creating a pathway to citizenship (though not during his presidency), but the U.S. needs to focus on securing the border before pushing other immigration reforms (he's hazy on what exactly that means). Several Hispanic groups objected to Rubio hardening his immigration stance even further. “Rubio has been a leader on immigration reform in the past, but when leading on the issue is no longer politically expedient he is abandoning his community for the purpose of his own ambitions,” said Latino Victory Fund president Cristóbal Alex.
Adopting a more extreme immigration stance for political purposes while criticizing others for doing the same might seem hypocritical, but maybe Rubio is just taking a cue from John McCain. In July, the Arizona senator made fun of Rubio for backing away from his immigration bill, though McCain distanced himself from that bill, and his own comprehensive immigration bill in 2006. [New York Magazine, 11/5/15]
ThinkProgress: Rubio Has Completed “Reversal” On Immigration Policy. ThinkProgress addressed Rubio's shift in a November 4 article, stating, “Marco Rubio's immigration reversal is complete: he promises to deport Dreamers.” The article highlighted the pressure within the GOP to oppose such programs explaining, “now as a Republican presidential contender in a field dominated by candidates supporting mass deportation and the end to birthright citizenship ... Rubio wants it known that he will end the only protection that some undocumented immigrants have” :
Now as a Republican presidential contender in a field dominated by candidates supporting mass deportation and the end to birthright citizenship (currently a constitutional right granted to kids born on U.S. soil), Rubio wants it known that he will end the only protection that some undocumented immigrants have -- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created through executive action in 2012 by President Obama. The executive action has since granted temporary deportation relief and work authorization to as many as 681,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
During a Young Professionals event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Rubio said that he would eventually end the DACA program, even if Congress didn't act on a permanent legislative fix.
Rubio recently told Univision host Jorge Ramos that he wouldn't “immediately revoke” the DACA program, but that “I hope it will end because of some reform to the immigration laws,” pointing to a permanent legislative fix. Rubio said at the time that he couldn't support DACA's expansion known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which would have covered undocumented parents of legal residents and U.S. citizens. The DAPA program is currently held up through a temporary injunction issued by a Texas judge.
In the past, Rubio championed for undocumented immigrants to have a voice, including calling undocumented youths brought to the country at a young age “real people” in 2012. But since abandoning his own comprehensive immigration bill, he's said that he's become “realistic on immigration,” saying that border security is the “only way forward.” [ThinkProgress, 11/4/15]
Latina.com: “Rubio's Position On ... Immigration ReformHas Changed Dramatically Since Announcing His Bid For Presidency.” On November 4 Latina.com's Raquel Reichard pointed out Rubio's “dramatic” evolution on immigration reform since he announced his run for president. Reichard noted that Rubio, who once supported comprehensive immigration reform, now is calling for the repeal of DACA:
Rubio's position on comprehensive immigration reform has changed dramatically since announcing his bid for presidency. The politician, a child of Cuban immigrants, was a member of the Gang of Eight, a bi-partisan group of senators who wrote a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013.
In recent days, however, the senator voted for a bill seeking to end funding to sanctuary cities, said he wouldn't prioritize a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and, now, affirmed he'd repeal DACA.
“After turning his back on comprehensive immigration reform, this doesn't come as a surprise, but it's still deeply upsetting that Marco Rubio would be so extreme as to deport children who were raised in the United States and call this country home,” Carlos A. Sanchez, coordinator of political campaigns at the People For the American Way, said in a statement. “There's no question now that on immigration, Marco Rubio is as extreme as the rest of the Republican Party.” [Latina.com, 11/4/15]
Right-Wing Media Have Harshly Criticized Rubio For His Previous Support Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The Hill: Rubio “Infuriated Some ... Conservative Media Personalities” By Supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform. A November 5 article from The Hill pointed out that many conservative media figures opposed Rubio's support of comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, and are now “taking retribution” as Rubio rises in the presidential polls. Thearticle highlighted recent criticism by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who recently asked if Rubio should be disqualified from the nomination because of his previous immigration positions. From The Hill:
Rubio's past support for immigration reform infuriated some of the big-name conservative media personalities who backed his upstart Tea Party bid in 2010, and they're taking retribution now that he's rising in the presidential polls.
Immigration hawks such as Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter appear unlikely to ever give Rubio a second chance.
Others, such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck, appear enthused by Rubio's political skills and ready to reconsider him.
It makes for a complicated media landscape for Rubio in the highly influential land of conservative talk radio and TV as he seeks to capitalize on momentum from his strong debate performances and subsequent rise in the polls.
There are some influential conservative pundits with whom Rubio's relationship appears beyond repair.
Ingraham, Malkin and Coulter consistently hammer Rubio for his past support for immigration reform and warn their audiences regularly that if elected president, he'll fold on the issue.
They got more ammunition on that front when billionaire Republican Paul Singer, who supports immigration reform, announced last week he'd throw his financial support behind Rubio in the primary.
“What worries me really about Marco Rubio is Paul Singer, his big benefactor, who is [for] open borders, [is] terrible on social issues and, as far as I can tell, is more concerned about the globalism agenda than the issues that are the best for the American people,” Ingraham said on her Wednesday show. “That's my concern.”
A day earlier, Ingraham played a sound bite from a Rubio interview on Univision in which he said one of President Obama's executive actions on immigration could not be immediately repealed.
She teed up New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Rubio's rivals for the GOP nomination, by asking if that position should disqualify Rubio from the nomination. [The Hill, 11/5/15]