Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Conservatives Expect Immigration Bill to Move Right

Conservatives exiting a private meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio to discuss immigration reform predicted that legislation pending before Congress would move significantly to the right as it proceeds toward President Barack Obama’s desk.

The Florida Republican, a key architect of the Senate bill, called the gathering to update conservative supporters and skeptics of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Rubio also invited feedback and recommendations to strengthen the package in his bid to build support among the conservative grass roots and GOP lawmakers.

More than one who attended the meeting said changes are probably needed to strengthen the border security measures — and to counter conservative fears that neither this White House, nor future administrations, will follow through on the legislation’s security directives.

“Whatever bill makes it to the president’s desk will be different than the one that we see now, and I think it will move significantly to the right,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute and one of 30 who attended the late Tuesday afternoon meeting.

An individual present at the meeting described the hour-plus exchange as mostly positive, adding that about 30 people attended, including representatives of tea party groups. When asked if Rubio’s staff provided any refreshments, a few who were present said that plenty of water bottles were provided, a sly reference to the senator’s State of the Union rebuttal, when he paused mid-speech to a big gulp of bottled water. A partial list of those who were present is included after the jump.

Al Cardenas, American Conservative Union
Sal Russo, Tea Party Express
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute
Ken Weinstein, Hudson Institute
Alex Nowrasteh, CATO Institute
Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Convention
Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute
Niger Innis, Tea Party.Net
Todd Cefaratti, Tea Party.Net
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute
Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations
Paul Wolfowitz, American Enterprise Institute
Steven Law, American Crossroads
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Network
Norm Coleman, American Action Network
John Shadegg, Visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation

  • Stan J.

    Most of the above listed “conservatives” attending this meeting with Rubio are well known, long-term amnesty supporters.

    This is a sham.

    Where are reps from the Nat’l Review, Heritage Foundation, Eagle Forum and Tea Party Patriots?

    Memo to Marco: border security, e-Verify, enforcement *BEFORE* any legalization/amnesty, including of coursebefore any “probationary legal status” amnesty.

    • SharksBreath

      They must be Reagan supporters. The amnesty president.

  • Stan J.

    Well, Obama and Schumer have publicly stated they will accept no major changes to the Gang of 8’s plan (in other words, amnesty first with mere promises of enforcement), so there is no way Obama and Schumer will allow this bill to move “significantly to the right.”

    So will Marco Rubio show integrity, keep the promises he made to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, and walk away from this?

  • barbi

    Rubio said that his reason for getting involved was to try to take an issue that he knew was going to come up anyway, and try to shape it according to conservative principles. The idea of being proactive, rather than reactive, is admirable. But, the reality is that the “gang” is predominantly made up of members whose only goal is bestowing citizenship, period. It is not bipartisan. They will run over anyone who stands in the way.

  • TheRedCorner

    If Rubio intends to have a shred of integrity left after this immigration bill is dealt with, then he must play by the rules he set for himself. Border security first, and then deal with the immigrants and a path to whatever. If he is unable to push amendments that will strengthen the very weak language about securing the border by promising they will someday, then he needs to walk away to save himself.

    If he chooses to vote for the weak bill and then say he is hopeful that the House will fix it, then he is demonstrating weak leadership skills and should plan on staying in the Senate and forget the White House. He will be in a position in 2016 where he will have to choose one or the other, because Florida law will not permit him to run for two offices at the same time.

  • mjcc1987

    The march to the democratic party by hispanics continue.

  • donaldeljohnson

    Marco Rubio (R-Mexico) must revise the immigration bill to cut the Heritage estimate of the long-term cost to less than $1T from $6.3T, which is the best estimate available and the only one critics of the Gang of 8 bill trust.

  • jskdn

    The “conservatives” that are against enforcing immigration laws and who are responsible for the illegal immigration we have. Border talk is the refuge of scoundrels who actively encourage illegal immigration by supporting the things that will make being illegally in the country a good decision.

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