Few issues have become more polarizing points of contention in the national debate than immigration. Here in Alabama, our legislature took the issue head-on by passing the nation’s toughest anti-illegal immigration bill. Popular support for this measure was overwhelming — and continues to be, in spite of some of the most irresponsible reporting I’ve ever seen from the state and national media.
As Alabama’s unemployment numbers have plummeted at a much faster pace than surrounding states, many have cited our tough anti-illegal immigration policy as a positive step toward getting Alabamians back to work. However, most people on both sides of the issue agree that the federal government will need to step in and address immigration policy on a national level before the problem can truly be solved.
We need to secure our borders and continue in the American tradition that we are a nation of laws. But just as important, we need to completely overhaul the legal immigration process and install an efficient guest worker program to continue in the American tradition that we are a nation of immigrants.
I’ve yet to see a presidential candidate articulate a vision for immigration policy that really captures those two elements which are at the core of who we are as Americans.
Although he (unfortunately) isn’t a current presidential candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio laid out his vision for immigration policy on Friday at the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference. Former Governor Jeb Bush hosted the event and Senator Rubio did what he always seems to do — he just made sense.
“For those of us who come from the conservative movement, we must admit that there are those among us who have used rhetoric that is harsh and intolerable, inexcusable, and we must admit, myself included, that sometimes we’ve been too slow in condemning that language for what it is,” Sen. Rubio sad.
“But at the same time, on the left there are those that are using this issue for pure politics creating unrealistic and unreasonable expectations among those in the Latino community across this country.”
“I challenge the Republican nominees and all Republicans to not just be the anti-illegal immigration party,” he said. “That’s not who we are and that’s not who we should be, we should be the pro-legal immigration party.”
I encourage you to take 20 minutes to watch Sen. Rubio’s speech in the video below. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.
Just watched a couple of @MarcoRubio speeches on YouTube & remembered that we’re fielding the B team.
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) January 29, 2012