Photo: Sen. Marco Rubio on Immigration
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Tuesday that the immigration reform bill doesn’t have the necessary votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.
“I think even the Democrats would concede that,” he said in response to a question on the Fox News program “Fox and Friends.”
Rubio is a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who drafted the reform bill that was given preliminary approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21.
His analysis contradicts that expressed on Sunday by another member of that group, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, who predicted that the bill would get as many as 70 votes when it reaches the full Senate next Monday, and that immigration reform would be approved before the July 4 recess.
The leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Harry Reid, also believes the bill will get the 60 votes it needs to pass, as he said last week on the Nevada radio program “To the Point.”
Less certain was Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, another member of the Gang of Eight, in a May 23 interview on Univision.
“We still haven’t identified the 60 votes in the Senate. We have to add more votes in the full session,” Menendez said.
In another interview Tuesday on the CNBC network, however, Rubio said that the great majority of Americans, Republicans and conservatives, are ready to support the immigration reform bill as long as they are assured that never again will there be 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
Acknowledging that conservatives are divided on the question of a path to citizenship, he stressed that “we need to deal with people who are here now illegally because they’re not going anywhere.”
“Most, if they go through this process,” Rubio said, “pay the consequences for violating our laws, then we should give them a chance to become Americans.”