I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed to read that Rubio’s polling numbers were down according to a recent poll of New Hampshire voters. I understood that his help in forging a legislative solution to our nation’s immigration crisis would be of some concern to certain conservative voters. However, I also believe that his recent dip will be temporary. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE is the real deal, and I believe that he is truly a hero both to conservatives, and to Hispanic Americans – most of whom are actually conservatives – but a hero nonetheless to all Hispanics regardless of political persuasion.
As the newly elected senator from Florida, Rubio soon realized that the issue of our broken immigration system was uniquely an American problem affecting our entire nation. Further, he was uniquely suited to play a decisive and instrumental role in fixing what literally everyone in Congress agrees is a thoroughly broken and dysfunctional immigration system. He is to be admired for his courage to actually reach for that infamous “third-rail” of American politics – immigration reform - and courageously working with both his conservative allies, as well as across the aisle, to actually forge a common ground solution.

If not Rubio, then who would step up to solve this vexing problem? If not now, then when would our nation finally get around to solving the problems of; porous borders, the lack of worksite enforcement, the alarming number of people who overstay their legal visas, and especially the difficult task of negotiating for an earned opportunity to allow otherwise law-abiding, hard working, and God-loving immigrants an opportunity for redemption, and a chance to earn their legal status, a possible opportunity for eventual citizenship, and most importantly an opportunity to legally pay their taxes and to pursue the American Dream?
Rubio is to be applauded, not condemned for his conservative approach to solving our immigration crisis. He was the senator that insisted on a system of benchmarks and triggers that will hold any future administration’s feet to the fire, and insist that they follow through on border security and all enforcement measures that Rubio was instrumental in being able to get added to the immigration reform bill that eventually passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote. Without Rubio sticking up for conservative principles, the progressive senators in the Gang of Eight would have rammed through a much more liberal and porous bill. Really, we should be thankful for Rubio’s presence in those tough negotiations.

Rubio is a true conservative, certainly not at all a “squish,” and definitely no “rino.” He firmly believes in the conservative principles that he articulates better than anyone that I’ve heard speak on these issues since possibly Ronald Reagan. Conservatives – and I consider myself to be a conservative – should admire Rubio for being a champion of conservative solutions, and that includes his conservative solution for our broken immigration system. Therefore, rather than tear him down for having the courage of his convictions, and for actually working to solve such an intractable problem as immigration, we should be holding him up, as an example to our nation for being a pragmatic, fiscally sound, freedom loving, liberty worshiping, small government advocating, upward mobility praising, conservative problem solver. He has worked to successfully pass a conservative immigration reform that has eluded all others – conservative and progressive alike – including President Bush. Rubio is an American hero. I’ve never heard him say anything that I didn’t agree with him on. I urge my fellow conservatives to appreciate what a fine and upstanding conservative American he truly is.

Gittelson is vice president for Governmental Affairs at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.