The very conservative magazine “National Review” is slamming Senator Rubio for supporting immigration reform. (Photo/courtesy of National Review )

Conservative magazine cover slams Marco Rubio for supporting immigration reform

Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio is in the crosshairs of fellow conservatives for championing bipartisan immigration reform –  and he’s targeted in the cover of the conservative National Review‘s May issue.

“Rubio’s Folly” is the title of the magazine cover, with a big photo of Senator Rubio surrounded by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator John McCain, who like Rubio are part of the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” who worked together to write a sweeping immigration reform bill.  The picture is getting a lot of attention, not only because it is panning Rubio, but because it photoshopped out conservative icon Grover Norquist, who in the original picture was standing behind Rubio’s right-hand side when the Senators announced their bipartisan immigration reform bill surrounded by groups who endorsed immigration reform, including Norquist’s group.

Inside the magazine, the main editorial is called “Rubio’s Amnesty,”  and it is written by Mark Krikorian, one of the more prominent foes of immigration reform, especially a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “Opposition to the bill should be the obvious position for conservatives who care about immigration enforcement and don’t want to open the spigots even wider to low-skilled immigration,” writes Krikorian in the  editorial.

Krikorian pans the Gang of Eight’s bill, says Rubio and his staff are “amateurs on immigration” and adds that the bill was mostly written by Democratic Senators like Chuck Schumer.  “Virtually all illegal aliens would get a kind of green card lite within months of the bill’s signing,” says the editorial.  It also criticizes the process for the pathway to citizenship, saying for example that the $500 fine up front for an undocumented immigrant to start the legalization process “…in a certain sense isn’t a fine, since the money would go into a slush fund for DHS to dole out to groups such as La Raza, which are in turn to provide services for the very amnesty beneficiaries who paid the fines.”  It also says the bill does not do enough to secure borders and to penalize employers for using undocumented labor.

Senator Marco Rubio, however, penned his own op-ed in a more “establishment” conservative publication, the Wall Street Journal.  “Conservatives aren’t anti-immigrant—conservatives are pro-legal immigration,” said Senator Rubio in his op-ed.  “To deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 recognizes the reality that they are not going home. It offers them an opportunity for legalization and, potentially, permanent residence and citizenship,” stated Rubio. “These principles are crucial for solving today’s illegal immigration problem and ensuring that it never happens again.”

Political scientist and NBC Latino contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto says National Review’s scathing criticism of the Senate immigration bill – and of Rubio’s support of it – was to be expected.

“This is not really a surprise to Rubio; he made the calculation and knew there was enough of a desire in the Republican base to support immigration reform in order to recapture the White House, and afford to lose some of the far-right constituency,” says DeFrancesco Soto.

But as Rubio and other Republicans try to convince GOP colleagues in Congress to support immigration, these editorials do not make it easier, she adds.

“Especially in the House, and after the Boston bombings, this kind of opposition makes for a difficult combination,” says DeFrancesco Soto.

Despite growing polls showing the majority of Americans support immigration reform, it is still not a given that Rubio and other pro-reform Republicans will have the last word.  That will be seen if an immigration reform bill passes the Senate and House.


  1. Reblogged this on blouiesalazar and commented:
    I believe this is what frustrates the Obama administration as well as the majority of Americans. Here we have a man, a leader, who has stuck his neck out to lead on a MAJOR ISSUE facing the American people today and the opposition offer no solutions, just ridicule.

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