Immigration reform is set to pass the Senate prior to July 4th, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. During the next two weeks of debate in the Senate, the fate of the top second-term priority of President Barack Obama will be hanging in the balance, with the bipartisan Gang of Eight wanting an overwhelming vote in the Senate in order to pressure the House of Representatives into moving on the issue.
One of the key figures in the debate is the Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who was a pivotal member of the Gang, with his status as a Republican Party potential Presidential candidate for 2016 and his own personal story to tell about immigrants in America making him the legislation’s crucial emissary to both conservative lawmakers and the Republican Party base.
The other Republican members of the Gang of Eight – Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona, and South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham – have been advocates of immigration reform for a long time, but Rubio joining the club appealed to the conservative grass-roots wing of the party that pushed him into office back in 2010 and has made him one of the Republican Presidential firmament’s brightest stars.
Unlike the others, Rubio has been willing to venture into conservative television and talk radio in order to spread the message but is also insisting on changes in order to continue supporting the bill, such as legalized immigrants having to wait longer to access certain benefits and no amendments such as allowing gay marriages to receive recognition in immigration cases.