Groundwork being laid to delay immigration reform

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But while practical Republicans like Sen. McCain (R-Ariz) and Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) see the critical need to move thoughtfully and quickly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is aiming to delay the process under the guise of “fresh hearings”.  Despite business and labor’s significant progress, the Florida senator is opening the parliamentary gates for known Republican obstructionist like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to delay, if not outright arrest the force behind the bipartisan efforts.

Even though not expressly, Senator Rubio is minimizing the value of not only the three in-depth hearings the Senate Judiciary committee has held but also the comprehensive hearings the House Judiciary committee organized under the leadership of Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). In calling to delay the process, Sen. Rubio is siding with Sen. Sessions and Sen. Cruz, staunch opponents of immigration reform.

Indeed, Sen. Rubio has already demonstrated a penchant of delaying and voting against critical legislation. For example, Sen. Rubio helped blocked The American Jobs Act, The Small Business Jobs And Tax Relief Act, The Paycheck Fairness Act. Most recently,  Sen. Rubio sought to kill by voting against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which protected women who are victims of domestic violence.

Senator Rubio's hint of a possible retreat from immigration is sophomoric and shows he is more interested in headlines than fixing policy. But VAWA highlights a key aspect: a major bill can pass even without Senator Rubio.

But if Senator Rubio is urging for fresh hearings for “full consideration of border security proposals”, the Senate Judiciary Committee should inquire any suspect interest the negotiating parties may have on immigration policy, including elected officials, who have accepted donations from private immigration prisons; these prisons are profiting from breaking families apart, and have helped fund Marco Rubio’s re-election campaign.

In the end, the American people deserve an open and candid government but the American people also deserve a government that can function and deal with the pressing issues of our country. The 92 Senators he talks about will have ample time in committee on the floor to assess, debate, and respond to the legislation. Unfortunately, Senator Rubio is placing the Tea Party’s inclination to obstruct over a government that can fix problems.

Vargas is director for the DREAM (DRM) Action Coalition and national activist for the DREAM Act.