|Sen. Marco Rubio (Credit: AP)
Is Marco Rubio gagging on immigration reform? The Florida senator has been attacked in a Washington Post editorial for sitting on the fence and in Newsweek on line for “cowardice.”
This is a remarkable shift in tone from the late January coverage when Rubio was hailed as the bravest of all the Republican senators for speaking out for immigration reform.
However, this week Rubio has suddenly turned cautious and began talking about more hearings and re-examining the bipartisan bill which has reached critical mass stage.
There are 50,000 Irish illegals waiting with bated breath for the outcome of this bill, not to mention countless thousands in Ireland too who would love to emigrate legally.
Make no mistake about it, extra hearings and more pondering means the bill will never make it out of committee.
As the Washington Post pointed out, Rubio can't have it both ways. As an immigration reformer he is seen in the media as the bright young star of the Republican Party, an Hispanic senator who is the answer to the prayers of a caucus desperately seeking a candidate who can win back Hispanic votes in 2016.
However, as Newsweek pointed out, we should never forget that Rubio came from the “swamps” of the Tea Party, many of whose members are deeply upset at the GOP turnaround on immigration.
Rubio has to decide which side he is on and get off the fence.America’s Voice, the pro-reform group put it well in a mass email yesterday.
“Millions are looking to Sen. Rubio--a member of the Gang of Eight--for leadership. But instead of being a leader, he's been playing dodgeball with reform, avoiding stances and parroting claims that plans have been too rushed or not publicly discussed.”
None of this is true. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has said repeatedly that the Senate will have adequate time to debate the bill.
Now is not the time for Sen. Rubio to slow things down or stop the process, not at the expense of millions of Americans demanding comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Now is indeed the time for Rubio to come clean. Tea Party hack or reform senator? Millions are waiting for the answer.