Rubio Threatens Break from Immigration Bill

Image: Rubio Threatens Break from Immigration Bill

Sunday, 09 Jun 2013 01:57 PM

By Audrey Hudson and Sandy Fitzgerald

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The massive immigration bill that includes amnesty for 11 million illegal residents moves to the Senate floor for debate this week without support of the bill’s key author, further eroding the measure’s chance for passage.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida took the lead in the GOP's contribution to the Senate Gang of Eight’s crafting of the 1,000 page bill, but now the popular lawmaker is threatening to break from the pack and oppose the measure over its border-security language.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

Numerous amendments to strengthen the southern border were rebuffed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight while crafting the bill, and by Democrats in committee, before the bill was finally approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which included language that struck down a popular post September 11 law requiring a visa entry and exit system.

Instead of requiring fingerprints or eye scans, the omnibus bill says visas can rely on biographic information, like photographs and dates of birth.

Rubio’s staff said he is working with Republican for proposals to strengthen the measure but declined to offer specifics.

“We are continuing to talk with other Senate offices, so it’s premature to discuss specific amendments that Sen. Rubio may be offering or supporting,” said Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant told The Hill.

Rubio is teaming up with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to craft a new package of border-security amendments, which he says is necessary if Democrats want to get enough Republican support to pass the bill.

“He may be right, I haven’t whipped the Republican side of the aisle,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, when asked by The Hill about Rubio’s claim.

New Hampshire Republican Rep. Kelly Ayotte said Sunday she's in favor of the immigration reform proposal being readied by the "Gang of Eight," because it provides a tough but fair path to citizenship for immigrants.

Ayotte said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the plan's provisions will bring "11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows." She is the sixth Republican to publicly back the immigration proposals, which will make it difficult for her fellow GOP lawmakers to stage a filibuster.

Democratic lawmakers argue that strengthening border security is an unrealistic goal and is merely a red herring by Republicans to stall amnesty provisions. Republicans say that before a path to citizenship can begin, additional security measures need to be in place at the border.

The floor debate is expected to drag out for nearly a month, but Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada wants the vote to coincide with the Fourth of July celebration.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

“I always thought there were land mines along here, and you just got to go through them,” Republican Sen. John McCain told the Los Angeles Times. “It's not a smooth path.”




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