Immigrant Son

Marco Rubio wants to sell the GOP on a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans. So why is his mom calling?

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Peter Hapak for TIME

Rubio’s detractors, and even some admirers, suggest that his career so far has been less about good government than politics and self-promotion. His autobiography recounts virtually no substantive achievements beyond a hometown tree-planting project. In the class, he devoted much of his time to recounting the machinations that persuaded his colleagues to elect him speaker: “You raise money for them. You befriend them. You make sure your kids are friends with their kids. And then you cut the best deal you can.” He didn’t mention that the deal he reportedly cut to secure North Florida support for his candidacy revised funding formulas at the expense of his South Florida constituents.

“Marco Rubio’s going to do whatever’s good for Marco Rubio,” says former Hialeah mayor Raul Martinez, a Democratic rival in Florida’s rough-and-tumble exile politics.

Given his previous wobbles on immigration, there’s a broad consensus that political calculations will help drive Rubio’s position on reform but no consensus about where. He has continued to toe the Tea Party line on everything else—opposing the fiscal-cliff deal, refusing to raise the debt ceiling, describing Obamacare as economic suicide—so perhaps immigration gives him a chance to prove he can work across the aisle, get something big done and help save his party. But he could also cement his status as a conservative stalwart by rejecting a deal, especially if he manages to dump the blame on Obama.

(MORE: The Economics of Immigration: Who Wins, Who Loses and Why)

There’s even a case to be made that Rubio might be a likelier Republican nominee in 2016 if his lily-white party hasn’t addressed its policy problems with Hispanics. What’s not in doubt is his influence. The legislation’s fate in the Republican-controlled House as well as the Senate may depend on Rubio’s blessing. GOP elites often follow his lead on Hispanic issues; the party’s presidential candidates all boycotted a proposed Univision debate after he got into a spat with the network, and Ryan endorsed his immigration principles the day he announced them.

To hear Rubio talk, reform is certainly not a done deal, as the bipartisanship-loving media have suggested in recent weeks. It’s hard to move massive legislation, and he predicted that Obama will try to drag the package to the left in ways he and House Republicans can’t accept. He pushes back at my suggestion that everyone will have to make concessions. “The right has already made concessions,” he replies. “I’m not sure how much further we can go.” Maybe he is just negotiating, but he doesn’t sound overly optimistic—or overly eager—about a White House ceremony with Obama. “I’m not trying to throw cold water on the effort,” he says. “It’s a good effort, an important effort. But we have to be realistic about the pitfalls that lie ahead. This is a very difficult problem that the country hasn’t solved in over two decades.”

It won’t be easy for Rubio to thread the needle between a mother who doesn’t want him to mess with the immigrants and supporters who want him to do just that. For most of his colleagues, immigration is just another Washington policy issue. For Rubio, it follows him everywhere he goes—to the bakery, in the classroom, at home. But if he can put a conservative Republican face on reform while continuing to charm the anger-mongers of the airwaves, there will be lots of speculation about a first Hispanic President. “It’s the most difficult issue he’s dealt with, personally and politically,” says his senior political adviser Todd Harris. “But at the end of the day, he’s following his heart. I don’t think Marco could look himself in the mirror if he didn’t give everything he had to try to solve this.”

(SPECIAL: Marco Rubio – The World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012)

Rubio says he has no idea what he’ll do in 2016—run for re-election, “run for something else” or return to the private sector. Some insiders remain dubious that he’ll seek the “something else” route so early in his career. He’s had some awkward personal-finance issues. One of his closest friends and allies, former Congressman David Rivera, is embroiled in a corruption scandal. And his political mentor, Jeb Bush, might seek the White House himself. Their friends assume Rubio would defer in that case, though it was curious that when I asked him whether he had discussed his immigration work with Bush, who has a book coming out on the subject, he said he sent a text message.

For now, though, Rubio says he’s content to stay where he is and try to help los pobrecitos secure a better life for their kids, just as his parents did for him. If that ends up helping his career, well, his parents wanted him to chase his dreams. “I’ve always viewed politics the following way: if you do a good job at the job you’re doing, you’ll have opportunities to do other things in the future,” Rubio says. “Maybe things you never envisioned.”

MORE: Rubio Gives a Smart Speech, But Can He Go Off-Script on Foreign Policy?

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891 comments
trefaller
trefaller

Sen Rubio:  If you think the Democrats are going to close the borders, I hav a bridge you can buy>

Acebones
Acebones

All the headlines this week are about Jesse Jackson, Jr.  who should now get a jail cell.   However,  his cell mate should be The "GOP SAVIOR" (as dubbed by Time Magazine) who is ALSO little more than a common crook, just like Jesse Jackson, Jr.    Senator Marco Rubio did the same illegal acts that Jackson did,  with GOP party money which he used for his personal gain for numerous personal expenses including the purchase  of flooring for his personal home.   When GOP Party chairman Jim Greer was caught, and the books were closely examined  ...  Marco Rubio finally fessed up to his actions and reluctantly reimbursed the party.   NOT MUCH OF A SAVIOR he doesn't walk on water .... he slurps and slips on it ... big time.

SharonSigMissel
SharonSigMissel

What a poor choice of a cover.  Rubio tried to stage overturning the violence agaisnt women act.  What  dirtbag and you want to put him on the cover and call him the darling of the Republican party.  I think I'm going to throw up.  Rubio must have practiced his speech about Obama's state of the union, because he commented on things that the president didn't say and he looked foolish doing it.  The guy who got a whole bunch of free stuff and made it to the Prime Time Cover, now thinks we should take it all away from anyone else.  Why don't you pay it forward Mr. Rubio?  Why do you think it's a good idea to block the violence against women act?  No wonder the Republicans lost.

timsored
timsored

Your cover is especially hysterical after hearing Rubio's speech answering Obama's SOTU speech.

He's be lucky to save himself.

Realista
Realista

 It takes more than a drink of water ..... 'To drown a political hack.

Definitely...... Not Ready for Prime Time! Then Marco told Mostly Lies.... 

"how government cannot help people"?      How Did his Illegal Family get to Stay in U. S. ?

U.S. Gov't " Did Not Deport Them"! That's government help!

Marco also got Free education paid by Dade Homeowners. His family Got Refugee Assistance, etc.    In spite of being the Son of An Illegal Immigrant Family, Marco got the "Resident Tuition Rate at FIU University"  and Federal assistance! Without a Dream Act?  

And, there is also the unrepaid $ 94,000 of personal expenses he charged  the Florida Republican Party Amex card while being paid by Florida government as state representative?  Marco has been on government payroll.... Most of His LIFE!

So, Marco government DOES HELP!

ArmandoCepeda
ArmandoCepeda

Rubio is not a savior. He is a republican opportunist who will say whatever it takes to get attention and votes. What was his conservative, Tea Party stance on immigration on November 5, 2012? (The day before the election) It surely wasn't anything like what he's preaching today, was it? Hypocrites, everyone of them. I don't trust republicans. They are mostly made up of greedy, flat-earth society, gun-loving, religious fanatic, intolerant, ignorant, fear/war mongering fools.  Rubio and his GOP cohorts are hoping that we Latinos are too stupid to see through their charade of appeasement. It won't work. Besides, we've got Hillary for 2016 already. 

anzablazer
anzablazer

You people don't even no how much illegals have stolen from American citizen. They stole your children's education. Think of all the money spent on educating illegal. That should have been spent on your American children. That was American taxpayer's money that was for your children. Instead, they got overcrowded classroom, less materials even more book that we didn't need for our children, but for illegals. And, the list can go on. Generations of American children have been cheated out of the higher education that they should have gotten. WE won't even talk identity thief, Gangs, Drugs. There the ones that bring them into America. They are all criminals. Now we know why there's has been and on going dumbing down of American children. That's the real truth. And, your Government new all about it.
 You see when the Illegal drain off all the state education money. The states had to go to the Government for money. That's when thing went south. The Government took over with the Department of Education. Unionize it all and now you pay three times as much for education than you did before.That by the Government own admission it is a failure. Those Mexican students that they want to give amnesty to are the ones you been paying for the last 12 years. So the Government did this and lies about it. And, what do we get we are call racist. They should be thanking us. Another lie is that illegals pay Tax's. They don't pay State Tax and they don't pay Federal Tax's. How could they? That would mean that the Government knew where they were living and did not go and arrest them for being illegal. The only tax's illegals have been paying is State Sales Tax.


 

havanajournal
havanajournal

It is amazing to see how the spin doctors in the republican party have no clue whatsoever about the latino/hispanic electorate and just hope to appeal to it and win votes by putting a latino face and name for them.

Is Mr. Rubio really entitled to talk about the immigrant experience more than anybody else in the republican party ? Absolutely not. Mr. Rubio represents a constituency of "entitled" and "privileged" cubans that come over with an automatic path to citizenship; free room and board upon arrival, financial assistance, free access to Medicaid; and most important the privilege (that no other american citizen has) of traveling freely back to Cuba as often as they desire to run lucrative businesses there that in the end benefit the Castro apparatus there. The Cuban Adjustment Act was supposed to welcome the truly persecuted there. Instead, it has helped create an underclass in Cuba ( the people that have family in the US; and the people that don't) At the same time, it has also made people risk their lives in the ocean, and created a lucrative human trafficking business for the people with families back in Florida. Most importantly, this Act does not discriminate and lets anybody come in as a resident as soon as they set foot here as long as they are Cuban. As seen lately, the same people that have collaborated and worked with the oppressive regime there, are welcome here with no questions asked. So, we are admitting corrupt criminals and people that actually are not political refugees. 

We have to ask Mr. Rubio what he is actually doing about this new class of immigrants which most likely will expand his base. Why is he entitled to question any path to citizenship (currently in proposed in new immigration laws) when his base of cuban-american immigrants (mostly really cuban; not truly anything cuban-american) get to come here and live from entitlements at the expense of all taxpayers?


anzablazer
anzablazer

I'm a third generation Hungarian.  My Grand parents came through Ellis Island.  My father was in the Korean War.And I'm a Vietnam Vet. My family earn the right to be Americans. We didn't steal it. And theirs lots more people just like me that live in this country.What you people are turning this country into your not going to like. It is almost to late to turn aside.

ADRIANMONK101
ADRIANMONK101

BEWARE MARCO!  TIME is trying to destroy the GOP again!  The election just ended but the Liberal Attack Machine is gearing to up to get YOU before 2016! Liberals do only one thing well - demonize their opponents. Instead of my words, let me use the words of a Liberal Democrat Feminist from Brooklyn once said to me when I asked her about this: "In politics, you rape, pillage and plunder - that is how the game is played."  


glamavon
glamavon

The cover should have had had a question mark after the words "The Republican Savior" because it'll take more than a few token charismatic young faces of color to cures what ailes GOP.  Apparently the GOP did not fully understand the lesson of putting Sarah Palin on the ticket with John McCain in 2008.  The less was that you need more than a pretty face, you need substance.  In this case, substance comes in the form real policy changes, a real willingness to work with the Democrats, and the realization that America is no longer a country of old cranky white guys.  While Senator Rubio, Governors Bobby Jindal and Susanna Martinez show some real promise, the real question is whether or not Reince Prince and the GOP are paying attention.  Until then, its merely window dressing.

FrankMonroy
FrankMonroy

Your hyperbolic cover ignores several points:

1. Rubio has lied about his and his parents entry into the United States, maintaing that they were Castro refugees until they were caught lying.

2. The right wing wet-footer Cubans are loathed by the 74% Hispanics most of who are Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans. They will not support this mafioso over one inevitable immigration reform. Hispanics are outraged by the largest single Group Welkfare program in US history for those who fled rather than fight for their country. Had all of our founders done likewise, we would all be speaking proper English now. Those Guzanos who fled Cuba, looted the Cuban Treasury on their way out and brought millions in cash and gold to the US after which they were given thousands just for being refugees,

3. Rubio's ties with the Calle Ocho drug Mafia will be exposed.

Republicans have been manipulating self-hating minorities for fifty years with no luck.

Ted Cruz was a 2010 one-off which will be corrected in five years.

FreemonSandlewould
FreemonSandlewould

@Realista  You are mentally challenged loser if you believe what you wrote.   Gov't helps you by what it does NOT do?  Er well yeah kind of because they do so much damage with what they DO DO.  Liberals are such morons.

miyiyi
miyiyi

@ArmandoCepeda  One or the only intellectual comment I have seen.  Mr. Rubio should give 30 years and 300% like the ex-Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.  Maybe then he will have qualifications!!  JUST MAYBE!

PaulaHansen-Uria
PaulaHansen-Uria

@anzablazer I am a legal inmigrant in this country from Spain, and very proud of being able to live in this country but I do not agree with you, imigrants do a lot of the jobs Americans don't want to do. Because they do not pay enought so I think you should revise your statement!!! Before you ramble about it. Isnt the US a Country on imigrants from the origines? Were is your family from origanaly?

TrajanSaldana
TrajanSaldana

you're free to ramble, rant and rave as much as you like...and i applaude your bravery; putting your obvious ignorance on display for all to see. maybe, in the future, you might like to, you know, research what you're talking about before firmly lodging foot in mouth.

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@anzablazer You are wrong, wrong, and more wrong. DHS ( which regulates immigration policies) and the IRS (which collects income tax) do not share information in that way. I am an immigration attorney and can tell you that ALL of my clients that are currently illegal pay income taxes. They either do it through a social security number they were able to have assigned to them if they were in the US when that was still being done or by asking for a tax ID number. Hence, they are paying for their children's education and for YOURS. Just like you are. 

max.schneiter
max.schneiter

@havanajournal We know the only thing that we need to know, they will never vote for the GOP.  They never have and they never will.  Rubio lost the hispanic vote in his own election for senator!  This push to force the GOP to change its position on immigration is nothing more than an attempt to force them into suicide.

ArmandoCepeda
ArmandoCepeda

@havanajournal 

Excellent points. You are very articulate in your accessment about Cuban Americans. Rubio does not, as you point out, represent the other 96% Latinos that are not Cuban. Therefore, to think that the Republicans can capture the Whitehouse in 2016 with Rubio at the helm is ludicris to say the least. 

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@havanajournal   I am half Cuban American, raised in Miami and I agree with you 100%.  That was very well said.  The Cubans that are emigrating to the US are not the same as my grandparents, family and mom in the 1960s, 1970s, and maybe even some of those families the came in the Mariel.. I am an immigration attorney and day in and day out I see so many immigrants that risk their lives to come here (not condoning illegal immigration, but it happens) and work very hard, pay taxes and receive no government benefits. It is nearly impossible for these people to become legal today without immigration reform. Then you have the Cubans that have been entering for the last 15-20 years and the ones especially coming recently and they arrive feeling very entitled, like it is their right to receive financial assistance and medicaid and do not appreciate what they are given here. They will openly tell you that they will take advantage of the system for as long as possible. The majority walk around with a chip on their shoulder, bad mannered and with such entitlement. They do not try to assimilate or learn English. And like you said, they spend a lot of money to visit Cuba several times a year many whilst on food stamps or taking advantage of the government in other ways.  It is not 1967 or even 1992 anymore and this law needs to be updated.

You are right that Mr. Rubio needs to address this problem together with helping formulate an immigration reform that will assist those non-cuban illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. in a fair way.

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

@anzablazer Do you mean that US citizenship is to be awarded by military service? Like non citizens legion soldiers in ancient Rome? Come on...

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@anzablazer And yet you still can't spell or write a grammatically correct paragraph. That, my dear, is what I call sad and that is what I don't like about this country. Why don't you concentrate on bettering yourself and your education?

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@glamavon My comment about being ashamed was directed at anzablazer, not you. Sorry about that.

anzablazer
anzablazer

@glamavon WE can keep Democrat's in office Way pass 2016.Hillary is a shoe in.And that will be another 8 more years for liberal to change America in a fundamental way for good.We can keep all White Men out of Politics forever And the New World Order will be Brown people..By that time Republican will become so insignificant that they won't even matter anymore.They don't already there to full of back stabbing traitors.They cut each other throat all the time which make's them weak.

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

@FrankMonroy I don't think the "gusanos" (correct spelling) looted anything. Besides they had to flee. They couldn't fight Castro's tyranny.

anzablazer
anzablazer

@TrajanSaldana  OH!  If I was so easily dismissed by the  like's of you. I would truly be ignorant.

ROBRT196
ROBRT196

@funkjenny01 @havanajournal I don't really understand why they think were going to vote for him just because he's a latino.. maybe they think Black people just voted for Obama because he's black and not on the issues they believe in...

DavidLakatos
DavidLakatos

@Ocsicnarf No I expect respect from the Government.  I and many others have served our country for.  Not the slap in the face that we have been given. By giving away American  citizenship to thieves. And make no mistake about it they are thieves. If they are such good workers? Why is the country these illegals come from such Dung Heaps. Because these people coming here are the bottom of the heap in their country. Which does nothing for our country but drain it resources.

anzablazer
anzablazer

@funkjenny01 @anzablazer People like you make me laugh. You think your so superior to everyone else. When somebody speaks the truth you strike out with insults.

ffnov22
ffnov22

@anzablazer @glamavon Bring on your NWO. Go ahead. Brown people cannot run their own homes without help from whites, let alone run a country. Name ONE country on the globe successfully run by a brown person.... You are a perfect example of the 'browns' who have an exaggerated opinion of themselves-- illiterate in English. Illiterate on spanish. Gawd you people are so stupid and have no idea what awaits... bring it.

max.schneiter
max.schneiter

@Ocsicnarf not nearly as much as the average american, and they are far more likely to have family members on welfare too.

Stop
Stop

We blow 50 billion a year on foreign aid, and no one cries about it. Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, China, etc. Welfare states, lol.

ffnov22
ffnov22

@Ocsicnarf How much money do the aliens wire out of America every year to the countries they love? They pay no taxes unless it's a sales tax. They cost Americans $300 BILLION a year. Please.

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

Please don't mix poor/rich with illegal/legal. The fact is that illegals do pay taxes.

anzablazer
anzablazer

@funkjenny01 @anzablazer I wish I was as naive  as you are. They no dam good and well what they are suppose to do. After 30 or 40 years living here. They just want to take advantage of American citizens. By getting a free ride. And I seriously doubt that and Majority of illegals are paying anything.

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@anzablazer I am not saying that all illegal immigrants pay their taxes. Obviously there are some bad eggs like in anything. The point I am trying to make is that a majority are trying to do the right thing. A lot of them also do not know that they have the option of requesting a tax ID in order to pay taxes. If this information is not made readily accessible then there's no way for them to know.

anzablazer
anzablazer

I guess you must of have 12 to 14 million clients for the last 12 years.

funkjenny01
funkjenny01

@anzablazer @funkjenny01 Only with insults? I'm pretty sure I just took the time to explain taxes to you a few comments above and that had no insults.  To refresh your memory I am pasting it here again: @anzablazer You are wrong, wrong, and more wrong. DHS ( which regulates immigration policies) and the IRS (which collects income tax) do not share information in that way. I am an immigration attorney and can tell you that ALL of my clients that are currently illegal pay income taxes. They either do it through a social security number they were able to have assigned to them if they were in the US when that was still being done or by asking for a tax ID number. Hence, they are paying for their children's education and for YOURS. Just like you are. 


Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

You are funny, dear. I'm sure I can distinguish between legal and illegal more than you. And the US is (democratically) run by a non white President.

ffnov22
ffnov22

@Ocsicnarf You self loathing whites and your brown and black bigot friends are the racists here. Race was NEVER an issue with me or anybody I know-- until now. That bodes very ominously for the future.

The U.S. is not RUN by a brown person.... oh wait, you mean he's not BLACK? Anyway, the U.S. is run by the people, not a dictator like you would wish. (And we are not going to allow that so get it out of your mind.) It's called the Congress. obummer is a nobody. A nobody mulatto, since you're all about a person's race/color ethnicity... And you and your anti-American wrecking team are not talking about anything. None of you can distinguish between 'legal' and 'illegal' immigrants which makes you unfit for inclusion in any discussion. And running a country is not a concept... so answer the question... name ONE country run by a brown or black person that is anything but a hell hole? Or please shut up already.

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

I'm sorry to see such racist remarks. I'm white by the way. The US is run by a "brown" person. Depending on what concept of brown you have, many countries are run by "brown" or "yellow" people more or less successfully. Please don't lead to a racist argument. We are talking about inmigration and about a politician who is son of inmigrants. Last but not least, please note than nearly all Americans are sons, grandsons, greatgrandsons... of inmigrants except for Native Americans.

glamavon
glamavon

@funkjenny01 @anzablazer @glamavon I swing blue myself.  In my commentary, the point I was trying to make is that the Republicans don't seem to understand that the United States has changed dramatically over the two to three decades.  This was blatantly in evidence at the conventions this summer.  One of things I observed was that the RNC convention attendees were predominantly the stereotypical clean-cut, All-American types while the DNC convention attendees represented the real America.  The America I know comes in shapes, sizes, colors, religions, abilities, gender preferences, and so on.  They are people who care about this country and the direction it's going.  They are intelligent, articulate individuals who should not be condescended or patronized to by a political party who thinks that if they throw out a few token faces of color or women that all will be right.  This is not the case.  Senator Rubio seems like an descent enough person, but what remains to be seen is whether or not he go down the route of being a self-serving politician and play along as window dressing or do some actual good.