Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is doubling down on his support for in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
On ABC, George Stephanopoulos asked Rubio about his work in the Florida statehouse in which he “co-sponsored legislation to provide in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.” Stephanopolous asked Rubio directly: “Do you stand behind that position now?”
Rubio said that he “absolutely” stands behind that legislation:
RUBIO: It was a very narrowly drafted bill. You had to have a certain GPA, you had to live in the U.S. a long time, you had to graduate from a Florida high school. It was very narrowly tailored to high-performing students who found themselves in a situation where they were brought here by their parents when they were 5, didn’t even speak another language except English and therefore couldn’t attend college because they were being charged like they were from out of state. They still had to pay for college but they paid for what people paid when they lived in Florida. They had to be high school graduates of Florida.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you stand behind that?
RUBIO: Yes, of a narrowly tailored bill like that, absolutely.
In theory, this legislation means that an American student wishing to attend a Florida state university, who is from the neighboring state of Georgia, would have to pay higher tuition costs than an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who has been living unlawfully in Florida and attending American public schools for the past thirteen years on the taxpayer dime. Illegal aliens are also eligible for generous child tax credits, a benefit protected in the Gang of Eight bill. Indeed, the “taxes” requirement in the Gang of Eight bill would have meant illegal aliens could receive tax payments in the form of free cash from the IRS, since poor illegal aliens have no tax liability.
Rubio’s plan to discount college tuition for illegal aliens will serve as a further magnet to new illegal immigration, and will also increase competition for college slots and post-college jobs for American youth who are already struggling. Moreover, due to affirmative action policies, these illegal aliens will not have their tuition discounted but their applications given preferential treatment as well.
By contrast, front-runner Donald Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd that same day that he opposes Rubio’s legislation to give illegal aliens taxpayer-funded tuition discounts.
TODD: Senator Rubio sponsored a bill back in Florida (back when he was in the State House) to give in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. There’s a lot of states that allow in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants. I’ve not heard your position on that.
TRUMP: I’m opposed to it.
TODD: Totally opposed?
TRUMP: They’re here. They’re not here legally. I’m opposed to it
TODD: Even kids born to illegal immigrants?
It is perhaps interesting to note that Chuck Todd seems a bit confused about U.S. immigration policy—illegal alien tuition discounts are for foreign-born youth who are themselves illegal immigrants. Under current policy, the US-born children are automatic birthright citizens, meaning no legislation is required to make them eligible for all the benefits enjoyed by Americans. Indeed, illegal immigrants primarily access welfare programs through their U.S.-born children. As a September 2015 report from the Center for Immigration Studies noted, “analysis shows that legal immigrant households make extensive use of most welfare programs, while illegal immigrant households primarily benefit from food programs and Medicaid through their U.S.-born children.”
Regardless, Trump made clear in the interview he would ensure that neither illegal alien youth (DREAMers) or birthright citizenship children, would be eligible for such benefits. Trump made clear he would move to eliminate birthright citizenship so that the US-born children of illegal aliens would no longer made automatic citizens. Again, by contrast, Rubio supports birthright citizenship–a position which is supported by only 20% of Republicans according to the most recent Rasmussen Reports immigration survey issued on December 27, 2015.
Rubio’s Sunday endorsement of discount college tuition for the foreign-born illegal alien youth is in keeping with his longstanding support for DREAM amnesty proposals, which have been a passion of Gang of Eight co-member Dick Durbin.
While Rubio briefly distanced himself of his support for DREAMer amnesty in 2010 in order to get elected to the U.S. Senate—and indeed attacked attacked his opponent Charlie Crist specifically for his support of the DREAM Act—upon arriving in the U.S. Senate, Rubio quickly used his new position of power to begin working on a plan to legalize so-called DREAMers. In 2012, Rubio wrote:
“They’re not in compliance with immigration law, and, thus, not American citizens. But they are culturally as American as anyone else’s children”
Rubio’s statement might be news to Laura Wilkerson whose 18-year-old son, Joshua, was gruesomely murdered by his DREAMer classmate. In her Congressional testimony last summer, Wilkerson told lawmakers how her son was, “beaten, strangled, tortured until he died. He was tied up, thrown in a field, and set on fire… [During his trial], we had to hear this kid on the stand muttering about, ‘In my country…’ ‘In my country…’ never to finish that sentence. We listened to him tell us repeatedly that his ‘killing skills took over’.” Wilkerson told lawmakers, “You cannot you cannot stand by and ignore our families — our American families. You’re elected by Americans, not any other country. You should be for Americans.”
Yet Rubio remains so committed to amnesty for illegal immigrants who allegedly entered as minors that he has said he will not immediately revoke President Obama’s lawless 2012 executive amnesty for DREAMers. In a Spanish-language interview with Jorge Ramos, Rubio said: “Well, DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately. The reason is that there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly. But I do think it is going to have to end. And, God willing, it’s going to end because immigration reform is going to pass.”
Rejected-Majority Leader Eric Cantor similarly supported Rubio’s efforts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. Cantor declared, “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.” This prompted Cantor’s then-primary challenger
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)
to describe Cantor’s declaration as “one of the most radical pro-amnesty statements ever delivered by a sitting representative.”