Flake: Rubio ‘the Linchpin’ of Immigration Movement

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 10:27 AM

By Dan Weil

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the key link in the chain to implement immigration reform., his fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has claimed.

Rubio has unique credibility as the most prominent Latino in American politics, his colleague says. Coming from a Cuban family, the Floridian has no peer in the Republican Party for his “vision of what being conservative . . . ought to mean, particularly in the context of immigration,” Flake told Politico.

It’s important that Rubio “has stepped forward” on immigration reform, the Arizona Republican said. “He’s the real linchpin in this effort.” Rubio will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.

Both Rubio and Flake are members of the bipartisan “gang of eight” congressmen who are examining ways to implement reform to the nation’s immigration laws.

Flake says the thrashing Obama delivered to Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters – 71 to 27 percent – has opened Republican minds to changes in immigration policy.

“Nothing focuses the mind like a bad election,” he said. “So, for a variety of reasons, it’s time.”

Immigration has particular meaning for Flake, given Arizona’s border with Mexico.

Democrats see Rubio as a crucial player on immigration as well. His work “is going to be a real service,” powerhouse Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, N.Y., told USA Today.




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