By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Boy, did I ever step into it last week. I forgot how thick-skinned bloggers need to be sometimes, and how vitriolic and hateful people can be when conflicting opinions exist.
My old friend William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection asked me to expound on my belief that Marco Rubio still has potential as a viable candidate in the 2016 Primary. Keyword: “potential.”
I touched on the subject in this space a couple of weeks ago and elaborated at Jacobson’s request at Legal Insurrection. He’s got a really tough crowd over there and they basically rode me out of town on a rail, insulted my intelligence, and flogged me in the comments. I really sort of expected that, but I was sorry it got so ugly. I quit monitoring comments after the first few popped up. In the end I think there were over 40 comments left on the post, but honestly, I quit reading them. If comments are only insulting and not instructive, there’s no point.
At any rate, I’ll offer one last word on Rubio here and then I’m done with it. I’m not endorsing Rubio. Do I still see potential there? Sure, I do.
Did he screw up with the Gang of Eight deal? Absolutely. Without a doubt.
Do I advocate amnesty? No, I don’t, but I think we have to deal with this issue in a humane way and within the legal system.
But, do I think Rubio made have learned a lesson? Possibly.
Should we trust him again? I think he has to earn that trust by his actions (not words) and that’s not easy to do. It takes time.
As to Rubio’s “new” immigration plans, should he get elected (a longshot, I would say now), which he explained on Face the Nation:
What I would do if I was president, the first thing I would do is, I would ask Congress to pass a very specific bill that puts in place E-Verify, an entry-exit tracking to prevent visa overstays, and improve security on the border. Once we achieve that, step two would be, we would modernize our legal immigration system, less family- based, more merit-based.
And then the third step would be to pass the bill that goes to the 10 million people that are here, or 12 million that are here illegally. If they have been for longer than a decade, they have to pass background check, they have to learn English, they have to pay taxes, they have to pay a fine. And they would get a work permit.
And after a substantial period of time in that status, assuming they haven’t violated any of the conditions of that status, they would be allowed to apply for legal residency, just like anybody else would, not a special process. And after you’re a legal resident, after a number of years, by law, you’re allowed to apply for citizenship.
It’s a long process. It’s a reasonable process. It’s a fair process. But it has to happen in that order. And it begins with serious enforcement measures.
Call me a liberal if you want to, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. Get the enforcement measures in place first, like E-Verify, secure the border, the entry-exit tracking system – all that is good, right? (The whole process would probably be dead in the water right there because I don’t see them every really securing the border). Only when all that works would I be interested in the rest of his plan: the people here longer than a decade, clean background check, they’ve violated no laws – not even traffic tickets (other than coming here illegally for which they’d pay a fine), learn English, and only then award a work permit – a legal working visa. Stay out of trouble, earn your way, contribute to society, and then after a certain number of years they could apply for citizenship.
I just don’t have a problem with that; your only other choice is to round them all up and send them back and right now we can’t even seem to do that with the criminals, much less the ones that are working and raising families.
And that’s my last word on Marco Rubio. Like everyone else, I’ll watch the debates, watch the candidates, watch it all unfold, and then decide on a candidate.
I’m certainly not advocating or endorsing anyone at this point. I can’t take anymore venomous attacks this week.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.