Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) complained today that Congress will not be able to pass a legislative version of the President’s immigration directive because the “sense of urgency has been taken away.” Despite the temporary relief this gives hundreds of thousands of young people, Rubio can no longer use their plight to attempt to frame himself as the leading champion for fair immigration practices.
Appearing on MSNBC, Rubio argued that the President’s instructions to stop deporting young undocumented students who came to the country before 16 made it virtually impossible for Congress to enact that same policy into law. The Florida Senator complained that he couldn’t use their immediate livelihoods to use as leverage anymore:
We used to say, these kids want to go to college in September. Now that argument is gone. That sense of urgency has been taken away. The fact it’s all gotten mixed up in this election year and being used to attack Republicans has only made it harder. I’m still optimistic about the long term of this idea, but I think there’s a lot of work to do now because of the way the President did it.
Similarly, Rubio complained immediately after the directive was issued that the President didn’t call him first.
Graduation for undocumented students happens once a year — every May or June — and Congressional Republicans have not seemed to notice this urgency before. Indeed, very few of Rubio’s colleagues supported the President’s move despite the relief it brought to over 800,000 young people.