Sen. Marco Rubio blew it. During his appearance on this morning's edition of NBC's Meet the Press Sen. Marco Rubio made a huge mistake when he said that illegal immigrants that haven't committed major crimes could be allowed to stay. According to NBC's Sally Bronston, when asked if he is still in favor of finding a way for millions of illegals to stay in the United States legally, Rubio replied:
If you're a criminal alien, no, you can't stay. If you're someone that hasn't been here for a very long time, you can't stay, I don't think you're gonna round up and deport 12 million people.
It doesn't matter that he went on to say, "It is very clear now more than ever that we are not going to be able to do anything on people that are illegally until we first prove to people that illegal immigration is under control and America is safe." Rubio's statement is going to make it even harder for him to win the Republican presidential nomination.
I thought Rubio had learned his lesson on his support for amnesty and his Gang of Eight deal with the Democrats. Last February he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he had learned he was wrong on his approach to immigration reform. You can watch Rubio's mea culpa at about the 13:25 mark in this video. The Hill had the best write up about it:
"It wasn't very popular, I don't know if you know that from some of the folks here," Rubio said with a smile, earning laughs from the crowd, when asked about his earlier support for the bill by Fox News host Sean Hannity."You have 10 or 12 million people in this country, many of whom have lived here for longer than a decade, have not otherwise violated our law other than immigration laws, I get all that," Rubio said. "But what I've learned is you can't even have a conversation about that until people believe and know, not just believe but it's proven to them that future illegal immigration will be controlled."[. . .]Rubio said recent border issues had proven his earlier approach was wrong, calling a border security first approach "the only way forward.""You can't just tell people you're going to secure the border, we're going to do E-Verify. You have to do that, they have to see it, they have to see it working, and then they're going to have a reasonable conversation with you about the other parts, but they're not going to even want to talk about that until that's done first. And what's happened over the last two years, the migratory crisis this summer, the two executive orders, that's even more true than it's been."
The grass roots don't support amnesty, a path to citizenship, or even legal status for illegals, because they know it will only lead to more illegal immigration. They remember that we tried such a shenanigan before. Under President Reagan we adopted the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"). That "immigration reform" legalized four million illegal aliens. IRCA was a monumental failure. Thirty-odd years later there are millions more illegal aliens to legalize.