As immigration reform progresses in the Senate, all eyes are on Senator Marco Rubio and his future political career. As a member of the Gang of Eight, Rubio is helping to draft an immigration reform bill that will go in front of the Senate and then proceed to the House of Representatives for a vote. Political forecasts are focused on how the immigration reform bill will influence Rubio’s political career.
Senator Marco Rubio’s Transformative Politics
Elected in 2010, Senator Marco Rubio is seen by many Republicans as a future figurehead of the party. The Republican Party is aiming to capitalize on the growing Latino population in the United States, and Marco Rubio, the grandson of an illegal Cuban immigrant, is seen as a transformative figure within the party. At the same time, however, Rubio is trying to balance his own political opinions and base with the center-right to far-right members of the Republican Party. For example, Rubio has proposed policies in the immigration reform bill such as a federal employment verification system, tighter border security, further Congressional hearings over the federal immigration system, and so-called “triggers”, which are specified details on the process of providing a path of citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Rubio’s Balancing Act with Immigration Reform
Some voters and activists are concerned by Rubio’s balancing act. Advocates for immigration reform are worried that Rubio is complicating the reform process, making the bill hard to pass the House or for President Obama to sign. Opponents of immigration reform are mad at Rubio for being part of the process to begin with, with many arguing that Rubio’s triggers and other policy proposals are minor policies to appease immigration opponents.
What Could Happen with Rubio and Immigration Reform
Still, many political observers are stating that Rubio should come off on top with the immigration reform process, regardless of its outcome. If the reform passes with Rubio’s support, many voters will be happy. If the reform bill fails but Rubio alienates himself from it before its failure, Rubio could blame Democrats and President Obama for its failure, making Rubio rise among conservatives. Even if he supports a bill that fails in the House, he can further his position in the party by saying how out-of-touch some conservatives and immigration reform opponents are, making him attractive to some Latino voters who wish to use Rubio to transform the Republican party. Arguably, Rubio not supporting an immigration reform that passes will be the most detrimental result, with Rubio being seen as inconsequential to the immigration reform process.
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