Rubio puts the brakes on immigration reform

David S. Addington from the Heritage Foundation defines amnesty as follows:

“The term “amnesty” is often used loosely with reference to aliens unlawfully in the United States. Sometimes it refers to converting the status of an alien from unlawful to lawful, either without conditions or on a condition such as a payment of a fee to the government. Sometimes it refers to granting lawful authority for an alien unlawfully in the U.S. to remain in the U.S., become a lawful permanent resident, or even acquire citizenship by naturalization, either without conditions or on a condition such as payment of a fee to the government or performance of particular types of work for specified periods.

Amnesty comes in many forms, but in all its variations, it discourages respect for the law, treats law-breaking aliens better than law-following aliens, and encourages future unlawful immigration into the United States.[My emphasis]

Roy Beck from NumbersUSA notes, “The Senate Gang of Eight was doing high-fives all weekend about an agreement between business and labor lobbyists that supposedly would allow their comprehensive amnesty bill to be rushed to the Senate floor for a vote by May.”

“But suddenly, it was the Gang of Seven, with the wayward eighth member, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), talking about the need to let the other 92 Senators find out what is in the bill and study whether there might be better ways to reform our immigration system,” states Beck.

Rubio demanded something rather extraordinary Beck reports: hearings of experts, an open amendment process and a full debate before the television cameras:

“(T)he success of any major legislation depends on the acceptance and support of the American people. That support can only be earned through full and careful consideration of legislative language and an open process of amendments.”

Beck states, “The Gang of Seven has not embraced Rubio’s attempt to slow-down the fast-track process by which pro-amnesty supporters have planned to rush the still-secret bill through the Judiciary Committee in a couple of weeks and get a vote on the Senate floor within a month with little debate and amending.”

The fast-track approach always attempts to side-track the public while giant amnesties and immigration increases are created in secret and then hurried through the legislative process before most elected officials even know what is in the thick bills.

“Sen. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, announced last week that he did not intend to hold any hearings on the Gang of Eight bill once he receives it and that he would not allow opponents to slow-down his plan to get it to the floor by May,” reports Beck.

So, the “process” is the big issue of the moment and maybe this entire week.

This is comforting news for those of us who oppose a bill that would further harm the 20 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job and the millions more whose wages are depressed by a labor market glutted with 26 million foreign-born workers.

Many Floridians who suffered through years of Marco Rubio killing immigration enforcement legislation when he was in the state legislature doubt their junior Senator’s sincerity in his flap with other amnesty supporters. Others believe he will hop off the amnesty train if his demands for an open process are not met.

Whichever Marco Rubio is at work here, he has provided a fantastic set of principles that you should be able to demand of your two Senators.

Sen. Rubio has at least temporarily broken with his fellow Gang members by sending an open letter to Chairman Leahy, who has not yet shown how he feels about a freshman suggesting how he should run his committee.

Rubio’s letter included this:

“I respectfully suggest that such a process must begin with a careful examination in the Committee including: hearings that explore multiple perspectives on the scope of the problems we face and the efficacy of the solutions we propose, markups in which a broad range of amendments can be considered, and a robust floor debate.”

“All of this, and any Conference Committee deliberations, should occur in the full view of the American people, broadcast on CSPAN, and streamed live on the internet.”

Chairman Leahy has already stated that he has held hearings on immigration over recent years and that he doesn’t need to do any more.

Rubio says about that claim:

“I am certain that those hearings deepened your knowledge of these issues and will guide much of your work this Congress. But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation.”

Beck asks, “If Chairman Leahy and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) refuse to hold these in-depth hearings, how can Rubio vote for the comprehensive amnesty bill? How can he remain in the Gang at all, if the other seven Senators refuse to step away from the fast track?”

RELATED COLUMN: Rubio Says Process Counts In Immigration Overhaul