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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Commentary

Marco and the Road Runner

Special to The Tampa Tribune
Published:

Having Sen. Marco Rubio as the champion of the immigration reform bill Congress is considering is akin to asking the Road Runner to be in charge of speed limits. Here’s why: Rubio is Cuban. Being Cuban means he is Hispanic. Republicans have a huge problem in appealing to Hispanics. Ergo, Rubio is the savior of the party who will help it win the Hispanic vote.

Problem is, although Rubio is Cuban and that makes him Hispanic, not all Hispanics are Cuban. There are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Columbians, Peruvians, Costa Ricans and even Spaniards. The Census Bureau conveniently lumps all of them into the category of Hispanic. Among them, Mexicans make up 65 percent of Hispanics in the United States; just four percent are Cuban.

Let’s compare Cubans to Mexicans. The different concerns and interests of Cubans compared to Mexicans is as far and wide as the those of the French compared to the Congolese. Even though the official language of Congo is French, the people’s similarities with France end there.

Just how different the concerns and interests of Cubans compared to Mexicans are is evident in how differently they are treated by our government.

The so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” immigration policy of the United States is a perfect example. It says any Cuban who illegally enters the country and sets their foot on dry land is automatically entitled to a fast track to permanent residency.

Imagine for a moment two men are in a raft together. One is Mexican, and the other is Cuban. They float to America, and both make it to shore. If they are caught, the Mexican will be deported, and the Cuban would be handed a green card. I am not making this up.

Last I checked, Rubio has not introduced any legislation to repeal this policy, which is the poster-child of special interest politics. Nor will he. But his action — or inaction — amounts to being a hypocrite. His fellow Cubans get the welcome mat, and Mexicans get shown the door.

But being a hypocrite in Washington isn’t a liability, which is why Rubio is such a good senator.

In addition to having the wrong guy beating the drum, the drum itself is broken because the immigration reform bill’s “path to citizenship” is a path to nowhere for all Hispanics who are not Cuban.

For any non-Cuban Hispanic to get a path to legal status, he or she would have to jump through all sorts of hoops, including: wait 10 years, then fill out tons of paperwork, pay fines and back taxes, and pinky-promise to learn to speak English — which, surprise, surprise, no Cuban has ever been required to do. Once they do all this, they then can apply for papers to get a green card allowing them to legally work here. Then three years later they can apply for citizenship.

Thirteen years after beginning the process, our non-Cuban Hispanic amigos can get legal. Maybe ...

That all depends on another provision of the bill, which says the path to citizenship is tied to how well the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spends an additional $3 billion to do its job in maintaining “border security.” Make sense? Of course not. But we’re talking Washington, here. Congress. The bastion of incompetence. The refuge of such people as Marco Rubio.

How DHS’s success is measured is explained on page nine of the 876-page bill. It says: DHS will aim for a 90 percent effective control rate of securing the border, which is found by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn backs by the total number of illegal entries in a given fiscal year.

What I want to know is, how do we know what the total number of illegal entries in a given year is? And if we do, why aren’t they being caught? Only in America.

Congress, of course, recognizes this bill is a set-up for failure. So it has provisions in it to find scapegoats, abdicate authority and otherwise kick the proverbial can by establishing a commission — the ultimate indication Congress intends to do nothing.

But let’s fantasize for a moment that government works, and DHS meets the 90 percent goal. At this time, our illegal friends can become our legal friends — in 13 years.

Make no mistake, Rubio’s bill is a ruse. But he doesn’t care because it gives him a platform to get his mug on TV and gain the national following he so covets. And he gives the GOP what it thinks is its path to the hearts of Hispanic voters, even though it doesn’t.

The Democrats aren’t any better. Last week they introduced an amendment to the bill that brings the gay rights/gay marriage issue into the immigration debate. So now Pat Buchanan can vilify the bill with rhetoric about two gay illegal aliens having more rights than you do. It’s a poison pill for sure.

But that’s not a bad thing. Whatever Pat says to help kill the immigration reform bill is OK because the bill is a path to nowhere for non-Cuban Hispanics, and Rubio knows it.

Beep-beep.


Chris Ingram is a Republican political consultant and political analyst for Bay News 9. Follow him on Twitter @IrreverentView.

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