By Parwinder Sandhu
The much talked about immigration bill is facing yet another threat of collapse as the Florida Republican Marco Rubio while demanding an inclusion of added security measures in the reform bill or else he would cast a vote against his immigration reform bill. The act of the Republican has given birth to a new hurdle for already struggling bill.
In the incident that has raised a lot of speculations among the bill’s activists that the GOPs act could mark an end of the immigration reform bill, the Republicans passed an amendment threatening millions of undocumented immigrants with deportation.
It may be recalled that this was not the first time that Rubio, considered to be the conservative member of the bipartisan Senate group known as the Gang of Eight, has made noises about going heated debate. He acted the same way in February too following the White House leak of the immigration plan that didn’t tie a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to a border “trigger”. Also, in March again when Rubio backed conservative demands for a lengthier hearing process and in both the cases he quickly returned to the fold.
The incident has caused worry among those backing the Gang of Eight bill and are especially concerned by Rubio’s public encouragement of Senator John Cornyn’s efforts to draft new border security mechanisms for his bill. On Wednesday a new amendment was introduced Cornyn, a Texas Republican, that would toughen up the “trigger” in ways that reform supporters warn would make it dramatically harder for undocumented immigrants to eventually apply for citizenship.
Though until now Rubio hasn’t backed the move, but given his strong support for Cornyn means that it could possibly lead the Republicans to conclude that the amendment should be the minimum price for their votes, thus capable of potentially sparking a backlash on the Democratic side.
Commenting upon the situation, Frank Sharry, executive director of immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, said: “The question is whether Rubio has the chops as the freshman senator to play a very high stakes game. The trigger is tied to the path to citizenship, so if you mess with the trigger, you mess with the whole reason we’re at the table.”
Despite the hiccup, the Democrats and Republicans supporting the Gang of Eight bill are sure that they would be able to get 60 votes before the July 4 recess even as the sponsor’ of the bill want it to be passed by a huge margin of atleast 70 votes in order to give momentum to overcome its next obstacle: the House of Representatives.