Rubio critics on immigration: Lead, follow or get out of the way

Forced deportation
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As immigration reform slowly moves forward, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has become a lightning rod for all kinds of criticism from conservatives who take issue with his proposal.

Appearing on no less than seven TV and radio talk shows Sunday to discuss his pitch for overhauling immigration, the junior senator from Florida has put himself in this position, it’s fair to say.

Considered one of the leading Republican presidential candidates for 2016, Rubio is trying to capitalize on the immigration debate to position himself as the frontrunner, some critics are suggesting. It’s a fair enough accusation — except he stands to lose far more than he gains on such a volatile issue.

If presidential aspirations were Rubio’s only focus, he would be better served to stay in the background.

Much of the fire Rubio is taking comes from fellow conservatives. Even though the media makes it clear that he is the guy the far left fears most.

Yet, if they keep up the vitriol, so-called conservative allies will have eviscerated Rubio long before the Democrats have even laced up their boots.

A key factor in the immigration debate is the estimated 12 million individuals who are here illegally. The American people do not want to force these folks out the way they came.

Not that the Republican Party has the power in Washington, D.C., to make that happen anyway.

Even if it did, a sympathetic media would blanket the country will heart-wrenching stories of families being torn apart, punctuated by weeping children cowering in the background, until the public demanded the deportations stop.

Many undocumented immigrants have lived in America for 20-30 years, all the while with a wink and a nod from the federal government, and little objection from Americans. Along the way, some have established deeper roots than natural-born citizens.

So forced deportation is a losing proposition few politicians are willing to embrace.

It’s not fair, then, to attack Rubio for taking a leadership role to ensure fairness on an issue that has long been ignored, unless his critics can at least offer a solution on what to do with immigrants already here illegally.

In his short tenure in the U.S. Senate, Rubio has proven to be more trustworthy, especially on this issue, than the likes of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who will march forward with reform whether Rubio is involved or not.

Where were all the naysayers when the federal government was granting de facto amnesty to those pouring across the U.S. border the past 20 years or so? Where were they when cities and states across America declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants?

If we had seen this same outcry along the way, we would not be here today.

The problem 12 million illegal aliens present must be addressed once and for all, and Rubio deserves credit for putting himself on the firing line and risking his own political future on the outcome, all in an effort to find a fair and equitable solution.

As for the critics, it’s time to offer viable solutions to a long-standing problem the progressive left continues to wield as a wedge issue at the ballot box. It’s time to lead, follow or get out of the way.


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Tom Tillison


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