Senator Marco Rubio seems puzzled about whether and how the Senate immigration bill can be improved. In an interview with Chris Wallace this past Sunday he said, "Now, is there a way to improve upon what the Senate did? Probably. I'm sure there is."(emphasis mine)
So am I, and we are joined by many millions of other ordinary Americans who would like their concerns taken seriously.
What are these concerns?
One is the worry about the corrosive effects of not enforcing American immigration laws and regulations. Another concerns those provisions in the Senate bill that are simply not true that promise more than they are designed to deliver. There are a number of such instances, but two come readily to mind.
One is the provision, endless touted by advocates, that amnestied aliens will have to pay back taxes. That kind of provision strikes Americans as only fair. And it goes some way in their minds toward making up for the fact, with a fair penalty, that those here illegally have broken American immigration laws.
Of course, the back taxes promise was picked up and widely disseminated, even making it into various national polls as an item to test public support for amnestied legalization.
The truth never caught up with the misrepresentation.
I have not used the word "willful" as an adjective to describe that misrepresentation, because it only applies to those Senators who were deeply involved in the construction of the bill. Other members of the Gang of Eight were familiar with the bills general concepts, to which they had signed on, but most likely not with any of the "details" that would have undercut their public assurances.
They should have been, especially those who volunteered to act as a bridge between the liberal premises of the bill and the concerns of those who were worried about its real provisions.
Senator Rubio was one of these. On April 21, 2013, he was interviewed by Townhall, and this exchange occurred: emphasis mine)
BENSON: Alright Senator, last question. I know you've got to run. These are just sort of technical questions. ...And then they also have to pay some back taxes – the people who are eligible. How does the government determine when someone got here, and what taxes they owe, if they've been doing it in the shadows and illegally?
RUBIO: Okay, first of all, the burden to prove they've been here is on them. So, if they can't prove it, they can't stay, and it's not our fault. Second, obviously there are multiple factors that you use – bank statements, utilities, school records, medical records – these folks that are here illegally do leave a paper trail, even though we don't do anything about it. So again, the burden is on them to prove. And I would just say, the less documentation they have, the less likely they're telling the truth about it, and I think that's important.
On May 10, 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that, "Two Republican lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee this week filed amendments to the immigration bill that aim to toughen the back-tax provision. It is unclear whether either amendment – one from Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, and one from Sen. Mike Lee, also of Utah – will get a vote by the panel."
Sen. Lee did propose an amendment to require the collection of back taxes; and during the week of May 20, when the committee went through all the bill's amendments it was brought up for a vote.
On May 21, 2013, the Washington Times carried a story titled "Immigration bill backers say not all back-taxes will be paid".
The article did not contain an explanation from Sen. Rubio.