Cruz Fought Amnesty, Rubio Fought Conservatives; Rubio’s Extreme Position Exposed

By: Daniel Horowitz | November 13th, 2015

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I remember the spring of 2013 like it was yesterday.  It was one of the busiest times of my career.  Republicans were working overtime to codify Obama’s open borders agenda into law, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was the ring leader of the effort.  The voice of the people was not being heard and we were subjected to fallacious talking points on a daily basis.

Instead of working with conservatives, Rubio and his office coordinated attacks on conservatives together with liberals.

Along with several other conservative writers, I wrote dozens of articles exposing the details and the broader implications of the 1,000-page piece of bilge that is known as the “Gang of 8” bill.  Instead of working with conservatives, Rubio and his office coordinated attacks on conservatives together with liberals.  Even after all of his promises were exposed as pure fabrications, he still went on to star in ads for Mark Zuckerberg touting his bill as something it was not.

Now Rubio wants our votes and suddenly he is on our side.

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In order to convince voters that he has walked the Road to Damascus on the road to winning Des Moines, his campaign is promulgating the following narrative: Rubio learned his lesson from the Gang of 8 and now shares the same views on immigration as Ted Cruz, so nothing to see here – let’s move on.

There is a lot to like about Marco Rubio.  But as it relates to the all-important compound issue of immigration, one would have to erase all of history to suggest he is on the same playing field as Ted Cruz.  When it mattered, Cruz wasn’t just a vote for sovereignty and security, he was a voice for it.  Rubio wasn’t just a vote for Obama’s prize agenda, he was a voice for it.

For those of us who fought with everything we had to defeat the Gang of 8 despite Rubio’s best effort to score the ultimate game-winning touchdown for Obama, we can’t just let this go.  The only similarity Rubio and Cruz share as it relates to immigration is the same similarity that a firefighter and an arsonist share with regards to fire – they were both there at the scene of the crime.  The one was a perpetrator of the problem; the other was part of the solution.


Rubio is now suggesting that Cruz also supported amnesty because at the time of the Gang of 8 debate, Cruz introduced an amendment stripping the provision providing a path to citizenship from the bill.  Rubio’s camp disingenuously submits that this act means Cruz implicitly supported legalization so long as no citizenship is involved.

Perhaps Rubio is unfamiliar with an amendment strategy when fighting legislation because he has been in very few firefights for the cause of conservatism since his election to the Senate.  One way of embarrassing and exposing proponents of a bad bill is by introducing amendments to tweak the bill with changes its proponents are hard-pressed to oppose.  This doesn’t mean the senator would otherwise support the legislation if it contained those changes, it’s merely a strategy to derail the bill altogether.

It’s for this reason that Rubio, during one of the few battles he actively fought, introduced an amendment to the Corker-Cardin bill forcing Iran to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  It’s not that he otherwise would have been fine with the Iran deal or the Corker-Cardin process.  This was merely a way to expose the other side for their extreme position.

This is what Cruz was doing when he introduced amendments to pause any amnesty until the enforcement was implemented or to take away the pathway to citizenship or his amendment to expand legal immigration.  He wanted to show that the entire Gang effort had nothing to do with being compassionate, pro-immigrant, or enforcement oriented – as proponents of the bill, including Rubio, so ardently asserted – rather this was a scheme to create new Democrat voters and disenfranchise the citizenry. Indeed, Senator Sessions, who clearly opposes legalization, supported Cruz’s amendment, while Rubio’s fellow Gang members on committee opposed it.

Hence, in the irony of all ironies, Rubio is using the hard work of Cruz in defeating his bill to suggest that they really share the same view!

Rubio was promoting his bill as ‘enforcement first’ even as he was voting down amendments to make the bill do just that.


As highlighted in his Conservative Review profile, Rubio was promoting his bill as ‘enforcement first’ even as he was voting down amendments to make the bill do just that.  It’s not just that Rubio changed his position to “enforcement first,” it’s that he touted that Gang of 8 bill for months as doing just that. He opposed the following amendments:

  •  A provision to ensure that the border is secured before any amnesty is granted. (
  •  A provision requiring completion of the reinforced double-layered border fencing. He was one of only five Republicans to do so. (
  •  A provision requiring that a visa tracking system be implemented before any amnesty is granted. (
  •  A provision that would require congressional votes affirming the border has been secured before the granting of temporary legal status. (

As noted in our guide to political conversions, a legitimate recent convert to a cause is usually the most zealous in championing the issue unprompted by political pressure.  When Cruz was fighting Obama’s executive amnesty, the border surge, sanctuary cities, the release of criminal aliens, the Islamic refugee scheme, and homegrown terror threats via immigration – using all his platforms on committee, floor speeches, and in the media – where was Rubio?  Until Breitbart called him out for not supporting a single enforcement effort, Rubio never even signed onto the effort against sanctuary cities.

Moreover, even long after the Gang of 8, Rubio continued to promote his amnesty agenda and gave tail winds to Obama instead of actually fighting him on his executive amnesty.  While Cruz was fighting DACA, Rubio was saying he’d keep it and the only problem he had with it is that it wasn’t permanent amnesty.  He seemed to be bothered more by Obama poisoning the well against his legislative amnesty effort than actually stopping Obama’s broader open borders agenda.

Every candidate engages in conversions while running for office to a certain extent.  Even Cruz has changed his tune on H1B visas.  But Cruz has a lot more credibility on the overall immigration issue because “enforcement first” has been more than a campaign talking point to serve as window dressing for amnesty; it has embodied his tenure in the Senate.

Ask yourself this question: do you believe in your heart of hearts that Rubio will fight for conservatives on sovereignty and borders the minute he wins the primary and commences his general election messaging?

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