By Javier Manjarres
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is continuing to outflank President Obama on the issue of immigration reform, as Rubio is using every opportunity to seize the initiative on the issue and articulate his vision of reform before the inauguration of President Obama’s second term.
During an appearance on Fox News’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ Rubio told host Bill O’Reilly that our current immigration system is “antiquated” and needs to be “modernized for farm workers.” Just this week, Florida Congressman Dennis Ross proposed a guest worker farm bill that would allow immigrants to work ten months out of the year and incentivize them to go back to their country of origin at the end of their work term through the implementation of ‘trust funds’ that they pay into. The trust funds would only release the taxed dollars back to the worker at the time of his or her departure from the United States.
Rubio insists that “we need to up the number” of skilled-labor immigrants, as according to the Senator, only “six and a half percent” are here on “skill and talent” alone.
Second, Rubio says that immigrants need to be tracked due to the fact that 40 percent or more of the illegal immigration that occurs in the U.S. is tied to the overstaying of legitimate visas given to tourists or visitors-
O’Reilly: “Yeah, they just stay. Well, all of that with the technology we have should be doable. But the real elephant in the room are the 12 million illegal aliens already here.”
Rubio: “Well, and look I don’t like that either. I wish we didn’t have 8 or 12 million people here that are undocumented, but we do, and we have to deal with it. But we have to deal with it in a way that’s compassionate but also responsible.”
Rubio’s tone and rhetoric has worked thus far, but using heavily misused verbiage such as “compassionate” and “responsible” when describing how illegal immigration needs to be reformed could make many pro-legal immigration supporters take pause with Rubio, as they might make the assumption that he’s teeing up a more liberal approach to immigration reform.
Rubio went on to tell O’Reilly what will be expected of illegal immigrants who come forward and ‘out’ themselves under his vision immigration reform-
You have to come forward, you have to be finger printed, background checked for national security and crimes, you have to pay back taxes, you have to pay fines, you have to have been here for a significant period of time, know English and be assimilated. And if you do all of those things, what you get is a work permit, basically. A legal status, not a green card, to allow you to be in this country legally and to work.”
Rubio also indicated that these immigrants will be able to obtain a driver’s license to work- an issue that could open up a whole slew of problems including voter fraud. Rubio does state that these immigrants will not be afforded “any federal benefits.”
I won’t go on the record stating that Senator Rubio co-opted my idea of giving those illegal immigrants who come forward a probationary period to ‘prove themselves’ as upstanding and productive residents before given the opportunity to apply for permanent residency- let’s just say that the idea was “floated” to him.
Rubio says that immigrants would have to be in a “category for a significant period of time” and then if they mind their P’s and Q’s, they would be given the opportunity to “apply for the existing legal immigration system.”
They apply for a green card. And then after you get your green card, you have to wait another five years to apply for citizenship, which you have to pass the exam and do all the other stuff.” - Senator Marco Rubio
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