The immigration plan proposed by the Gang of Eight would have dispensed more than 30 million green cards in its first ten years.
Both Schumer and Durbin understood how essential Rubio would be for their effort to increase immigration beyond the current inflow of one million green cards — one million foreign workers, dependents, refugees, and half a million foreign national students — as Rubio, more than virtually any Republican, has proven able to get Republicans to support mass immigration policies.
The Huffington Post, for instance, noted that it was Rubio’s job to put on a “charm offensive” that would win support for the bill among conservatives. For instance, Sean Hannity said in an early interview, “It’s probably the most thoughtful bill that I have heard heretofore.”
The Washington Post wrote that Rubio’s role was that of official “salesman” for the bill endorsed by both the Chamber of Commerce and celebrated by President Obama:
Finally, the gang agreed on a bill… Now the salesman had to sell… [Rubio] did Limbaugh. He did Hannity. He did private meetings with influential conservative activists and writers… And on April 14, 2013, Rubio did the talking-head version of an ultramarathon: all five Sundaychat shows in one day, a rarely completed feat known as the ‘Full Ginsburg’ (after the lawyer for Monica Lewinsky who was the first to do it, in the 1990s). And then Rubio did two more, on Telemundo and Univision, in Spanish. ‘The Full Marco!’ Politico called it.
The Boston Globe reported:
In a dozen interviews with those involved in crafting the Senate plan — including most members of the Gang of Eight — there is universal agreement that Rubio’s intellect and charisma were crucial in both convincing skeptical Republicans and blunting the barrage of criticism.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) confirmed the critical role Rubio played in the effort to pass the 30-million-green- card bill through the Senate: “During that period, [Rubio] was engaged in using political capital for the right purpose, from my perspective. And being bipartisan in that engagement. And being willing to argue his case in the most difficult circles.”
Democrats came to rely heavily on Rubio. As The Boston Globe reports, “Rubio would sometimes seem to distance himself, but never for long. ‘He always came back,’ said one Democratic staffer. ‘It was kind of like Lassie.'”
As Rubio told conservatives on the Senate floor prior to the passage of the Senate bill, “In my heart and in my mind, I know that we must solve this problem once and for all,” before urging Republicans to support a bill that would permanently resettle more than 30 million foreign citizens inside the United States in the elapse of one decade.
Immigration activists still trust Rubio’s resolve. For instance, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, recently told The Boston Globe, “I believe he hasn’t changed at all in terms of his convictions, but he has changed in his political calculations he believes necessary to win the Republican nomination.”
Rodriguez is not alone. The Boston Globe reports that, “[Javier Palomarez, president of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce] believes Rubio’s shifts on the issue show political savvy. After all, the passionate conservative opposition to Rubio has dissipated as his rhetoric has shifted, giving him better standing in the GOP primary electorate… immigration advocates like Palomarez still view Rubio as an ally, someone who could achieve greater gains on the issue from the White House.”
Rubio also recently introduced legislation known as the Immigration Innovation Act – or I-Squared – which would triple wage-depressing H-1B visas and remove university green card caps. This policy would also substantially increase immigration from the Middle East.
Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration lobbying firm FWD.us, which urged the passage of the Senate immigration bill and has donated to Rubio’s campaigns in the past, describes Rubio’s new bill as “our gold standard for high-tech reform”.
As of today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the only leading Republican candidate who has expressed an openness to potentially reducing the record dispensation of visas. Such a move would echo the guidance of late-Democratic Congresswoman and Civil Rights champion Barbara Jordan, who pushed immigration reductions, saying: “The national interest comes first, last, and always.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
, in his Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority, explained:
Hard-hit working people need to see Republicans go into the ring and throw some real punches on their behalf. They want to see the Republican look them in the eye and say: ‘I am going to fight for you. I am going to fight for your jobs… I am not going to let open-borders extremists push their agenda at the expense of your family and your income. I stand with you. I know you’ve been let down in the past by politicians who have not delivered on their promises, and I’m here to say: not anymore. Things are going change.’…This is our chance to stand up and fight for millions of loyal struggling citizens who have been neglected. This is our chance to stand up and fight for the good and decent people of this country who pay their taxes, fight our wars, follow the rules, love their country, and only expect in return that their country will defend their legitimate interests.
When asked for comment, Rubio’s staff did not dispute Schumer’s characterization of events, and, in fact, pointed Breitbart News to several other articles from the past highlighting the coordination of Schumer, Durbin, and Rubio.