Why Doesn’t Marco Rubio Answer Simple Questions About Immigration?

Jun 24, 2012
4:11 PM

Today on "Meet the Press", Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) once again avoided answering direct questions. Does he have the political cojones to just say what he writes in his book, where he suggests that people might not be so worked up about the politics and complexities of immigration if most immigrants came from Canada instead of Mexico? (FYI: notice how the following quote does not mention "illegal?")

Screen Grab: MSNBC Meet the Press video

David Gregory asked some pretty basic questions, and Rubio, once again, spoke like someone who did not want to upset his base. Come on, Senator, you KNOW you want to say that a certain faction of the Republican Party just ain't so welcoming to those who are of Latino descent. Why don't you just say it? Instead, your partisan defense of the GOP is actually kind of funny. "First of all, that assumes all these voices are Republicans?" Can you let us know what other major US political party is talking about border fences and the evils of illegal immigration? Can you let us know what other major US political parties are calling laws like Arizona's SB1070 good models for the nation? Anyone, anyone?

Here is the clip from today.

DAVID GREGORY: Here's the reality, you support a candidate, Mitt Romney, who talked about self-deportation during the campaign, had to run hard to the right here on illegal immigration, said at one point that he would veto The Dream Act, and the reality is that he's far behind President Obama among Latino Voters. You write this in your book, "An American Son," about Canada: "I begin to wonder if some of the people who seem sew disparaging about immigrants would be just as worked up if most of them were coming from Canada." You suggest a level of racism here toward illegal immigrants. how much of a problem does the Republican Party have on this issue?

SENATOR RUBIO: First of all, that assumes all these voices are Republicans. The enormous vast and overwhelming majority of Republicans are supporters of legal immigration, are compassionate to the plight of legal immigrants but understand that — of illegal immigrants, but understand that America cannot be the only country in the world that doesn't enforce its immigration laws. And by the way, again, I repeat, what about the 30, 40, 50 million people that are waiting to immigrate to the US whose relatives come to my offices for example, some of them, asking for help to expedite that process. what do I tell them? Come illegally, it's cheaper and quicker? I think no one talks about them, and this is, again, it's not a simple issue and The Dream Act is too broad. There is an alternative that's better. It's what we were working on, what I had hoped to work on outside of politics to be able to elevate the issue beyond the give and take of electoral politics. Obviously that's not going to happen unfortunately this year because now the issue has been politicized by the President.

DAVID GREGORY: Romney's got a big disadvantage, you would agree with that among Latino voters?
SENATOR RUBIO: Again i think we need to remember that there's some historic factors in play. There are also a large number of Hispanic voters in this country that happen to be liberal Democrats, who happen to be lifelong Democrats. They're not going to change their position and decide to vote for Mitt Romney now because he won't change his position on immigration or not. We need to realize this say long-term effort for the Republican Party to ensure that our message of limited government and free enterprise is accessible to a group of Americans that happen to be of Hispanic descent.

In addition, Rubio's comments today were slightly ifferent from what he said at NALEO on Friday. Where was this type of consistent messaging today on NBC? It seems like Rubio was already muting Friday's speech.