Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was critical of efforts by President Barack Obama to politicize immigration reform this morning, alledging that in doing so the President was acting irresponsibly in an election year.
“If you are a responsible policymaker you don’t just rush out a piece of legislation,” Rubio, Florida’s junior Senator, said in an interview this morning with David Gregory on ABC’s Meet The Press.
Rubio was referencing President Obama’s recent decision to ignore immigration laws and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants under the age of 30. The rising Republican star acknowledged that the United States needs immigration reform but said the current version of the DREAM Act is too broad. Furthermore, he said Arizona and other states have a Constitutional right to pass strict immigration laws but he does not think national immigration reform should be modeled after Arizona’s reforms.
The Florida senator criticized Obama’s amnesty decision as an attempt to make immigration reform into a political issue, noting that if Republican’s “wanted a talking point, something to use in November elections, we would have cobbled something together and rolled it out.”
He did not duck away from the necessity of federal reform of the immigration system saying “the single greatest contributor to illegal immigration is a broken legal immigration system” though he did not outline what reforms should be made.
Rubio said his own version of the DREAM Act did not have all of the necessary answers to those questions, which is why he had not released it yet, expressing a desire to personally avoid politicizing the issue. The Democratic version of the bill is not the answer, though, he said, because it would “lead to these [illegal Hispanic] kids bringing in multiple relatives.”
Rubio also said he did not think Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, which is under review by the Supreme Court with a decision to be announced this week, would work effectively as a national law, or even in as a law in his home state of Florida. He said that such a law was Constitutional, however, and that he understands why the state took the approach it did, saying, “the blame for those kinds of laws falls on the shoulders of federal officials and the federal government for not doing it’s proper role in enforcing immigration laws.”
He also downplayed any perceived disadvantage GOP nominee Mitt Romney has with Latino voters, giving his opinion that the issue is purposely being blown out of proportion as an election strategy.
He noted that “a large number of Hispanic voters in this country happen to be liberal Democrats,” who are probably “lifelong Democrats,” and wouldn’t change their political leans based purely on immigration reform, making Romney’s views on the issue semi-irrelevent.