Rubio Explains How His Republican Colleagues Could Kill Immigration Reform

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned on Sunday that the immigration reform debate could be choked off if his Senate colleagues submit bill-killing amendments.

As a member of the Senate’s so-called “Gang of Eight” devoted to immigration reform, Rubio has taken the spotlight as the GOP’s point person on the issue. With the bipartisan group said to be readying a bill to be introduced next week, Rubio set off Sunday morning to appear on a record-breaking seven Sunday news shows, discussing immigration reform on each of them.

Speaking to NBC’s David Gregory, Rubio informed the Meet the Press host that he didn’t believe it likely that anything would happen to cause him to step back from the bipartisan compromise the Gang of Eight has crafted. The Florida senator also assured Gregory that the group’s bill was just a starting point, and that the process would be open to amendments, contrary to the claims of reform opponents.

Rubio warned, however, that amendments would likely come seeking to derail the entire process, and promised to oppose such measures even if they come from his Republican colleagues:

RUBIO: But obviously there are 92 other Senators, who have ideas of their own, and I think from them were are going to get ideas to improve this. We are going to get ideas that make it better, and I welcome that. Now, there are amendments designed to undermine this. There are amendments that will be designed to make this thing un-doable, and obviously I will oppose those, especially if that’s the intent of them. I look forward to an open process on this.

Rubio made a similar point appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, warning “there will also be amendments designed as poison pills to doom the bill.” The same process can already be seen in the debate over gun violence prevention, as Republicans are already lining up amendments to potentially water-down or kill the chances of reform entirely. Opponents to immigration reform will have an uphill climb against public opinion, however, as 64 percent of those polled recently support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.