The Republican race for president appears headed to be a battle between four men: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Although Rubio is known as a potential favorite of the establishment, he’s also seen as someone who can bridge the gap with the conservative base, thereby uniting the party as a whole.
That sure sounds great, but now there’s a problem for conservatives even larger than Rubio’s history with promoting policies that allow amnesty: His commitment to the rule of law, no matter the issue.
In a little-noticed interview earlier this year with Univision’s Jorge “Borders Are Racist” Ramos, Rubio said that as president he would allow President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty for DREAMers to stand while the process plays out:
Here’s what Rubio literally said, as quoted by Breitbart.com:
DACA … applies to young people that arrived in this country at a very young age before they were adults and I don’t think we can immediately revoke that … I’m not calling for it to be revoked tomorrow, or this week, or right away.
I think it will have to end at some point and I hope it will end because of some reform to the immigration laws.
In other words, Rubio is pledging to allow an unconstitutional law to stand until Congress ratifies his preferred law, which may or may not produce a similar policy.
Remarkably, Rubio’s reasoning is almost an exact mirror of President Obama’s rhetoric:
President Obama told Congress: “If folks are serious about getting immigration reform done [they should be] passing a bill and getting it to my desk. And then the executive actions that I take go away.” Similarly, Obama told George Stephanopoulos after being pressed on his executive amnesty: “Well, my response is pass a bill.”
What Rubio doesn’t seem to understand: this issue is as much about the rule of law to conservative voters as it is about immigration policy.
The president has no authority to grant amnesty to any group of illegal aliens. If there is going to be amnesty, it’s Congress’ prerogative to grant it. Not the president’s.
This means that Obama’s executive amnesty must be reversed, and not as a matter of choosing a different immigration policy, but simply because the president sidestepped the Constitution.
If Rubio was the conservative he wishes to present himself as, he would have railed against Obama’s amnesty as the acts of an imperial president gone wild. Instead, Rubio endorsed the practice of bypassing the Constitution if it serves his agenda. In that sense, he’s no different from the repeat-lawbreaker currently occupying the White House.
Some conservatives may sympathize with DREAMers, or illegal aliens in general, but most oppose amnesty because it simply sends the wrong message: it tells the world that both illegal aliens and politicians can violate U.S. law if the violation serves the right person’s purpose.
Not the best message to send if you want to save the country from ruin.
Rubio might be fresher, more energetic, and more charismatic than Jeb Bush, but he is exactly the same on what matters most: how well he understands the oath he would have to take.
Disclosure: Michael van der Galien co-founded Ted Cruz 45