WBEZ | ted cruz http://www.wbez.org/tags/ted-cruz Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rubio vs. Cruz on immigration http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubio-vs-cruz-immigration-106765 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP593789138172.jpg" style="float: right; height: 190px; width: 300px;" title="Ted Cruz may have end up being a determining factor on immigration reform. (AP/File)" />The Boston bombing is casting a long shadow over the immigration bill penned by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, but that &mdash; the idea that border procedures need to be tightened to keep out the likes of the immigrant bombers (who were 8 and 15 when they arrived here) &mdash; is the least of the bill&rsquo;s problems.<br /><br />The first is that the only political team that needs this bill is the GOP. And because the Republicans have such a nasty recent history on immigration (self-deportation, anyone?) and are so split on the issue, the Democrats don&rsquo;t really have to do much of anything to benefit. When it comes to the largest voter bloc invested in the immigration bill &mdash; Latinos &mdash; there are so many other issues that push them away from the GOP (the umpteenth attempt to repeal Obamacare, positions on education and taxes), that Democrats can just stand by and whistle. If the bill passes, it will be a victory for them and the crossover Republicans, but if it dies, it&rsquo;ll be the Republicans&rsquo; fault. So no need to break a sweat.<br /><br />(And anyone who thinks President Barack Obama is going to ride to the rescue need only look at what just happened with the gun control bill: No one in Congress, GOP or Dem, gives a crap what he thinks; the man has no leverage. Moreover, this is a last minute leftover from his last term, when he <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/22/us/politics/growth-in-deportations.html?_r=0">deported more Latinos</a> than any other president and completely ignored the southern half of the hemisphere in foreign policy.)<br /><br />For the GOP, the immigration bill was originally the band-aid to cover up the bruising they got at the presidential polls from Latinos last November. For a minute, it looked like the very ambitious Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) was going to be the Moses figure to deliver. You see, Rubio wants to run for president, and the best argument for his candidacy &mdash; because he has no legislative accomplishments &mdash; is that he, unlike other Republicans, will connect with the illusive Latino community. Unfortunately for him, most non-Cuban Latinos (and quite a few Cubans) despise him for his Tea Party allegiance and extreme right wing positions. The immigration bill, though not without its perils, seemed perfect for him: An opportunity to author a major piece of legislation while simultaneously neutralizing some of the antipathy toward him and the GOP among Latinos, giving him a chance to reshape the relationship in time for 2016.<br /><br />But a number of things have happened since November to cool the GOP on immigration reform. For starters, while Rubio &mdash;Tea Party-affiliated, conservative, Latino -- gave cover to Republicans who might want to crossover and vote for immigration reform, the rise of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/ted-cruz-marco-rubio-immigration-90395.html?hp=f2">another 2016 presidential aspirant</a>, gives them another kind of cover. Cruz is also Tea-Party-affiliated, also ultra-conservative, also Latino (even also Cuban), and he absolutely hates the idea of immigration reform. In other words, Cruz serves as a shield for anyone who wants to vote against it and beat accusations of racism and the like. How can it be racist, after all, if a Latino like Cruz is also against it &mdash; and not just against it but vehemently, ferociously against it?<br /><br />Cruz&rsquo;s opposition &mdash; because Cruz doesn&rsquo;t care about protocol or tradition &mdash; means he&rsquo;ll nitpick his way through hearings (as he did with the Chuck Hagel confirmation), dragging matters out for months, so that the chances of the deal dying even before it leaves the Senate increase. (This may not be so bad for Rubio, even if the bill dies, if he can make the case that he really, really, really tried.)<br /><br />And if it makes it out, it&rsquo;ll then go to the House, where opposition is even more vocal, where the GOP has control and the our lame duck president has even less influence.<br /><br />The sad fact is that many, if not most, of the GOP senators and reps calling for a slowed legislative process on immigration reform aren&rsquo;t for immigration reform at all. What they want is to stop or dramatically slow immigration, especially from non-European countries. Cruz, in fact, goes so far as to consider undocumented immigrants subject to criminal prosecution on their status alone. And he isn&rsquo;t above piling on: he authored a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lopez_v._Gonzales">Lopez v. Gonzales</a>), urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally.<br /><br />If Cruz takes the reins on this issue from Rubio, the immigration bill is dead on arrival. And when you consider that Rubio might be the best bet for this bill, you know something has gone really, really wrong.</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 08:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubio-vs-cruz-immigration-106765 Rubio's cowardice and ambition could kill immigration bill http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7176_AP382044843446-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Sen. Marco Rubio, the GOP's immigration point man. (AP)" /></div><p>You might have thought that after the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-afl-cio-us-chamber-commerce-come-meeting-minds-guest-workers-1161805">came to an agreement</a> over the weekend on guest workers &ndash; historically the trickiest part of immigration reform for unions &ndash; that the immigration bill the senatorial Gang of Eight has been working on would find the road a little smoother.&nbsp;Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) even went on the Sunday shows this week and crowed about a &ldquo;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/schumer-gang-of-8-has-substantive-agreement-on-immigration-issues/">substantial&rdquo; agreement </a>moving forward with both Democratic and Republican support.<br /><br />Except that the Republican most identified with the bill put the brakes on it. On Saturday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) fired off a <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/291099-rubio-warns-leahy-against-rush-to-legislate-on-immigration#ixzz2PPpyMHhB">letter</a>&nbsp;to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asking him to slow down the possible legislation.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am aware that the Judiciary Committee, both under your leadership and under the leadership of your predecessors, has conducted a number of hearings related to immigration reform,&rdquo; wrote Rubio. &ldquo;But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation.&rdquo;</p><p>A letter like that from most senators wouldn&#39;t make much of a ripple, but because Rubio is the GOP&#39;s point man (however reluctantly) on immigration, and because of his national profile, he&#39;s not that easy to dismiss. Rubio can kill the bill, and everybody knows that.<br /><br />Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma is not actually based on immigration concerns, or even party concerns. While he was busy trying to get the Senate to slow down, fellow senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was busy touting the bill on the news shows.<br /><br />&ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t signed off. There are a few details yet,&rdquo; Graham said. &ldquo;But conceptually, we have an agreement between business and labor, between ourselves, that has to be drafted. It will be rolled out next week. Yes, I believe it will pass the House because it secures our borders, it controls who gets a job.&rdquo;<br /><br /><em>Next week!</em><br /><br />What&rsquo;s the difference between Rubio and Graham? Besides, of course, that Graham comes from a state much less likely to be open to immigration than Rubio&rsquo;s Florida, or that Graham is up for re-election in 2014 and Rubio not until 2016? Why, exactly, is the white dude from the South so much more optimistic than the Son of Immigrants?<br /><br />In a word: cowardice.<br /><br />In another word: ambition.<br /><br />Graham isn&rsquo;t going anywhere but the senate seat for South Carolina, but Rubio&rsquo;s every move these days is calculated with a shot at the White House.<br /><br />And here&rsquo;s Rubio&rsquo;s dilemma: The country seems to be moving in favor of immigration reform, but the hardcore Tea Partiers &ndash; his core constituency, the people who elected him &ndash; are still staunchly against anything that smells of a path to citizenship. They&#39;re just not too excited about immigration in general, reformed or otherwise.<br /><br />But that&rsquo;s not all. The Republican Party desperately needs&nbsp;to attract, or at least neutralize, the Latino vote &ndash; the ever growing Latino vote, especially in the South, in places like, say, South Carolina, where the <a href="http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2011-03-24/number-hispanics-skyrockets-south-carolina">Latino population grew 148 percent</a> in the last ten years compared to about 13 percent for the general population.</p><p>That should make Rubio, the senior Latino in the GOP ranks, a Very Important Guy.&nbsp;Rubio, the thinking goes, should be able to talk to his people, explain the goodness of the GOP, and bring them over. He&rsquo;s good looking, bilingual, and his family has experienced immigration up close and personal.<br /><br />The problem is that Rubio, not unlike the GOP&rsquo;s other Latino star, Ted Cruz, has never been on the compassionate side of immigration. He&rsquo;s not as much of an extremist as Cruz, who uses the term &quot;<a href="http://www.ontheissues.org/international/Ted_Cruz_Immigration.htm">illegals</a>,&quot; and&nbsp;who&rsquo;d like a bigger fence, more boots on the ground, and absolutely zero chance at citizenship. Truth is, Rubio wants all that, too, except for maybe the path to citizenship, which he&#39;s surrendered to.<br /><br />Sure, Rubio could walk away. But if he wants to run for president in 2016 (which he very clearly does), he needs to show some balls somewhere, sometime, and pass a bill of some sort. (So far, the only senate bill he&rsquo;s sponsored on his own was a resolution to honor Vaclav Havel.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?sponsor=412491#current_status=5">I kid you not</a>.)<br /><br />But what if Rubio passes the wrong bill? A bill that pisses off the Tea Party, or one that alienates Latinos even more, could mean that even if Rubio gets on the GOP ticket, Latinos may reject him with even greater vitriol for being a traitor than they would some meaningless non-Latino.<br /><br />Actually, I&rsquo;m probably getting ahead of myself here. I don&rsquo;t think Rubio actually gives a crap what other Latinos think of him, just so long as there are enough votes from wherever to keep him in power. And if he has to kill this once in a lifetime chance at immigration reform to keep his sure Tea Party votes in line, then so be it.</p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448