Rubio: White House Backed Immigration Plan ‘Not Going To Pass’ In The Senate

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, comments on the poisonous gas attacks in Syria during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a fan of reforming the U.S. immigration system to a merit-based program, but said the White House-backed plan that would cut legal immigration and favor English-speaking green card applicants is “not going to pass” in the Senate.

“The bill’s not going to pass,” he said during an interview with Florida’s CBS 4 station Sunday. “I think the White House knows that you don’t have 60 votes for that in the Senate.”

The RAISE Act, which was announced last week Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) and backed by President Donald Trump, would create a points-based immigration system that favors green card applicants who demonstrate skills, education and language ability over immigrants who have relationships with people already living in the U.S.

It also seeks to cut legal immigration in half over the next decade, which is the piece of the bill that’s kept Rubio from endorsing the plan.

“I don’t want to limit legal immigration, I certainly want to change the way we conduct it,” he said. “Where I probably have a big difference of opinion with this bill is that it sets an arbitrary cap on the number of people that are able to come through with a green card. I don’t think that should be an arbitrary cap, that number should be driven by demand.”

Rubio is not the first prominent Republican member of the former, unsuccessful “Gang of Eight” bipartisan reform effort to come out against the new plan.

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have also expressed similar opposition to curtailing legal immigration.

The group of eight senators attempted to pass legislation in 2013 that looked at enhancing border security and a path to citizenship, as well as visa reform.

Watch the full interview below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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