January 30, 2013
Need a sign that immigration will be tough sledding in Congress, especially for Republicans?
Sen. David Vitter, a conservative from Louisiana, called his GOP colleague Marco Rubio "amazingly naive" and "nuts" during a stint Wednesday on Laura Ingraham's radio show. Vitter's quotes and audio from the interview were posted on a blog on Ingraham's website.
Rubio, a freshman from Florida, is one of four Republicans behind a bipartisan framework for sweeping changes to the immigration system, including a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the USA. The path to citizenship would not kick in until improvements are made to border security and workplace enforcement under the guidelines announced earlier this week.
"I love and respect Marco. I think he's just amazingly naive on this issue," said Vitter, who joined the Senate in 2005. "This is the same formula we've seen before. ... Promises of enforcement never materialize and the amnesty happens immediately."
The a-word, or amnesty, has come up frequently this week as Rubio, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and others behind the Senate framework have taken to the airwaves to sell their ideas. Rubio is in a challenging position, because he is viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party and because of his strong ties to the Tea Party movement.
Vitter told Ingraham that previous promises to grant legal status to illegal immigrants already in the USA — and tie that to tougher enforcement — have fallen short. Rubio and other Senate immigration supporters say their plan will help reduce the number of people coming into the United States illegally — whether by crossing the border or overstaying their visas — and improve the legal immigration system.
"Every single time, the illegal flow after has been greater," Vitter said. "We've gone to this movie before. It has the same ending every time."