Marco Rubio says he has “concerns” about the Arizona immigration law:
From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.
Rubio, unlike his political mentor Jeb Bush, is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration and amnesty. One year ago, when I interviewed Rubio for a piece before he had even declared his candidacy, Rubio said he thinks the GOP has a problem with its image and tone on the issue. But he wouldn’t budge in his opposition amnesty.
I tried to press him on whether he’d make any exceptions to allow a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants. What about an illegal immigrant who’s been here for years, worked, otherwise obeyed the law, and had established a family and children in this country? “The immigration status of children cannot change the immigration status of a parent,” Rubio replied. “If you believe in legal immigration, and yet you allow people to skip in line and come in, you’re going to create an incentive not to use the legal route. Basically [amnesty] destabilizes and demoralizes the legal route for immigration.”
It remains to be seen if Rubio’s concerns about the Arizona law will hurt his credibility as an opponent of illegal immigration.
As noted in The Weekly Standard blog, the law says that police would only check on a person’s immigration status if they had stopped a person for violating some other law, i.e. a traffic violation. But Arizona officials may bear some responsibility for concerns about how the law would be implemented by passing the law and leaving questions about its implementation to be resolved in the future. As the AP reported, Gov. Jan Brewer “ordered the state’s law enforcement licensing agency to develop a training course on how to implement it without violating civil rights.” Perhaps the law’s backers could have cleared up concerns by laying out how it would be implemented right after the law was signed.