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Marco Rubio Has "Concerns" About Arizona Immigration Law

12:58 PM, Apr 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Marco Rubio says he has "concerns" about the Arizona immigration law:

From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation.  While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position.  It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens.  Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.

Rubio, unlike his political mentor Jeb Bush, is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration and amnesty. One year ago, when I interviewed Rubio for a piece before he had even declared his candidacy, Rubio said he thinks the GOP has a problem with its image and tone on the issue. But he wouldn't budge in his opposition amnesty.

I tried to press him on whether he'd make any exceptions to allow a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants. What about an illegal immigrant who's been here for years, worked, otherwise obeyed the law, and had established a family and children in this country? "The immigration status of children cannot change the immigration status of a parent," Rubio replied. "If you believe in legal immigration, and yet you allow people to skip in line and come in, you’re going to create an incentive not to use the legal route. Basically [amnesty] destabilizes and demoralizes the legal route for immigration."

It remains to be seen if Rubio's concerns about the Arizona law will hurt his credibility as an opponent of illegal immigration.

As noted below, the law says that police would only check on a person's immigration status if they had stopped a person for violating some other law, i.e. a traffic violation. But Arizona officials may bear some responsibility for concerns about how the law would be implemented by passing the law and leaving questions about its implementation to be resolved in the future. As the AP reported, Gov. Jan Brewer "ordered the state's law enforcement licensing agency to develop a training course on how to implement it without violating civil rights." Perhaps the law's backers could have cleared up concerns by laying out how it would be implemented right after the law was signed.

Read Rubio's full statement after the jump:

Our legal immigration system must continue to welcome those who seek to embrace America’s blessings and abide by the legal and orderly system that is in place. The American people have every right to expect the federal government to secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration.  It has become all too easy for some in Washington to ignore the desperation and urgency of those like the citizens of Arizona who are disproportionately wrestling with this problem as well as the violence, drug trafficking and lawlessness that spills over from across the border.

 

States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona’s policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem.  From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation.  While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position.  It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens.  Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.

I hope Congress and the Obama Administration will use the Arizona legislation not as an excuse to try and jam through amnesty legislation, but to finally act on border states’ requests for help with security and fix the things about our immigration system that can be fixed right now – securing the border, reforming the visa and entry process, and cracking down on employers who exploit illegal immigrants.

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