In a further sign of the political motives behind the announcement, the White House Thursday acknowledged that it had not discussed President Obama’s controversial new immigration initiative with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), even though Rubio was crafting and seeking bipartisan support for a similar measure.
Speaking at a Washington breakfast meeting with reporters, Rubio said the White House didn’t consult with him or anyone else on the Republican side before moving last Friday to end deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
“This White House didn’t reach out to anybody,” said Rubio. “I’ve never had one conversation with anybody in the administration about my idea or what it looks like . . . If you’re really interested in a bipartisan solution and you read in the newspaper that there’s a Republican senator working on an idea, don’t you reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, how does your idea work? I’m just curious. That never happened.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Rubio should have reached out to Obama.
“I’m not aware that the Senator has called expressing interest,” said Carney.
But the White House, which has been accused of circumventing Congress with its new policy, was well aware of Rubio’s effort and, given its professed eagerness for immigration legislation in particular and bipartisanship generally, should have jumped at the chance to try to bring a bill forward.
Rubio’s legislation would have granted work visas to illegals who came to the United States as kids.
The similarity of Obama’s plan to Rubio’s – and the timing of its announcement, just before Rubio unveiled his proposal – suggests that the White House was in fact trying to preempt the Senate effort, which it did. Rubio said he was abandoning his plans to introduce legislation, and a rare bipartisan effort on a controversial issue suddently died on the vine.