On Thursday, after meeting with leaders of Central American countries on Capitol Hill, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement where he called on President Obama to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that the president enacted in 2012. Per Rubio’s press release, DACA is one of the main reasons why the United States has seen a huge uptick in migrant children from Central America in the past year. While the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala reiterated in their visit to Washington that violence and drug trafficking in their countries is a key driver behind the exodus of young refugees, Rubio decided that Thursday’s meeting presented a ripe opportunity to blame President Obama for this humanitarian crisis.
Below are key excerpts from Rubio’s press release, courtesy of his Senate website:
“For reasons of national security and economic prosperity, the U.S. has a clear interest in helping Central American countries become safe and stable communities built on strong foundations of democracy, the rule of law and free enterprise. Unfortunately, the recent wave of illegal immigration has reminded us of how fragile these foundations are in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, allowing drug cartels and violent criminals to wreak havoc on these countries and dim their people’s hopes of a better future.
“The U.S. must also make clear that the Deferred Action program, or any law or policy for that matter, does not and will not apply to any recent arrivals. Furthermore, because the recent wave from Central America spiked after DACA was announced, it is in our interest to wind down this program. If you are not currently in it, you should not be eligible for it. For President Obama to raise hopes it may actually be unilaterally expanded is irresponsible and threatens to make this problem even worse.
“As Congress prepares to consider spending proposals to address these problems, we need to make sure that there are adequate resources to deal with the ongoing wave in an expeditious and humanitarian manner, while also providing lasting solutions that discourage illegal immigration. This includes additional fencing, manpower and technology resources on the southwest border, as well as stronger interior enforcement provisions.”
Essentially, with this statement, Rubio told his fellow Republicans that he is no longer for any lasting immigration reform. On top of that, he let the DREAMers know that he no longer supports their desire to finally become citizens of the United States. With the GOP presidential primary season coming up soon, Rubio has to do his hard-shift to the right and appeal to the uber-conservative base of the Republican Party if he is to have any chance of winning the nomination. With conservative pundits like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh having already called him out on his role in drafting the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that was passed by the Upper Chamber with bipartisan support last year, Rubio figured it is time to turn his back on the image he had created as a pro-reform Republican.
This week, Rubio has made a concerted effort to reach out to conservatives and remind them he can be just as bigoted, hateful and closed-minded as any of the other potential 2016 Republican candidates. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Catholic University of America and reasserted his positions on same-sex marriage and abortion. Rubio also emphasized that social conservatives are the real victims when it comes to the debate on marriage equality since those who seek tolerance won’t tolerate the right’s intolerance.
Therefore, with his full-throated appeal already made to the religious right, it comes as no shock that Rubio would distance himself from immigration reform. Obviously, he has calculated that he needs to appeal to old white people if he wants to get through the GOP primary. If by some miracle of miracles he’s able to make it through, or perhaps get on the ticket as the VP candidate, he probably thinks he can do an ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ and shift back to being more progressive on immigration reform, where he’ll emphasize that he supports a pathway to citizenship and that Republicans need to be more compassionate and sympathetic to the plight of immigrants.
Until that time comes, though, Rubio will keep railing against ‘amnesty,’ DACA, the Senate’s bill that he helped write and anything else that the President even slightly supports. Rubio will pretend he didn’t actually work on a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act that would have done much of what we’ve seen take place with DACA. He’ll just brush it off as he’s done recently when called out on his apparent hypocrisy over his criticism of Obama’s immigration policies. Rubio will sound just like any other Republican candidate out there. After all, it is all about out-crazying the crazies during the clown show known as the GOP presidential primary.