No one is sure where Senator Marco Rubio obtained his negotiation skills but someone should of told him it is not wise to change the rules of the game when the game has started and when you wrote the set of rules in the first place.
The Cuban-American Florida Republican is proposing changing a key feature to the comprehensive immigration reform bill he co-authored with seven other Senators now known as the gang of eight. The bill has already passed the Senate judiciary with bipartisan support and was to be voted on this month by the entire Senate.
Rubio feels that there is not enough “border security” in the bill as drafted in order to get enough Republican support when it comes to vote. Instead of negotiating, begging, cajoling, demanding, etc… his colleagues vote for the bill he is changing it so it becomes less likely to pass by the Democrats.
And more importantly Rubio, himself does not feel there is enough border security elements in the bill. He is purposing that Congress make the determination as to what level is considered an “effective control” of the border. The original bill left the decision up to the Department of Homeland Security that currently manages border enforcement.
One wonders if he became the face of immigration reform because he thought it would look bad for someone with a Latino surname to sit this one out. Or did he need a cause to give him political fame? Did he hope the Latino community would forget his Tea Party roots or his “I won’t vote for the DREAM Act” position by attaching himself to the bill? Or did he need to sell more books?
Opening the debate on border security - when it was negotiated over the last 18 months and a consensus reached - is risky on many fronts for Rubio politically and for the viability of the legislation. Democrats might just say NO to changes in the middle of the game. The Republicans, those who really don’t want immigration reform, might feel emboldened and ask Rubio to set up a firing squad at the border and call that “secure border.” The proposed change might take the immigration reform process back to step one and never see the light of day again.
For Rubio his biggest risk is when he presents himself to the Latino community outside of a Cuban-American mecca like Miami, and is asked to explain himself.
Rubio, who has presidential aspiration in 2016, needs to remember what Romney found out – you can’t win the White House with out the Latino vote. The Latino vote is made up overwhelming of Mexican-Americans and they overwhelming support immigration reform and overwhelming know when they see a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Many Latinos have doubted Rubio’s sincerity or his willingness to lose politically in order to pass immigration reform.
“If we can figure out a way to write a bill that ensures the border will be secure, I believe immigration reform will happen,” Rubio said on Fox (interesting but obvious choice of networks). “If we cannot do that, or fail to do that, I do not believe immigration reform can — or should — happen.”
No immigration reform means ADIOS Cubano! Get ready to go back to your one-man law firm and part-time teaching job.