|Politico -- April 14, 2015
The calls started coming from Republican Party honchos and prominent GOP senators right after Election 2012: The party had to start competing better for the Latino vote, and immigration reform was the place to start.
Sen. Marco Rubio's political advisers weren't so sure.
As a pair of deal-making Republicans deeply disliked by elements of the GOP base --- Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham --- were working with senators from both parties to draft an immigration bill, top Rubio hands flatly warned the Florida freshman not to go there. The advisers feared nothing would be worse for his chances in a potential presidential campaign than being associated with “amnesty” for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.
Rubio didn't take the advice. And two years later, immigration remains the freshman senator's No. 1 liability in his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination --- though not necessarily the deal breaker it appeared to be after the reform effort Rubio helped shepherd to passage in the Senate hit a brick wall in the House.
“Everybody likes Marco Rubio,” said Iowa conservative radio host Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated commentator. But “I still don't hear his name from conservatives at all, and I think the Gang of Eight” --- the bipartisan group of senators that pushed the most sweeping immigration overhaul in a generation --- “has a lot to do with that.
Rubio vs. Cruz - The Record
Glenn Spencer, American Patrol Report
Back in 2013 amendments were offered to the comprehensive Senate immigration bill to strengthen border security.
Sen. Cruz criticized the votes and pulled his support for the measure. Sen. Rubio continued to support it.
Washington Times -- May 9, 2013
Kicking off the first votes on immigration this year, the Judiciary Committee held a daylong session on border security where senators agreed to require that the entire southwestern border be secured to 90 percent “efficiency.”
But the committee defeated Republican efforts to put that requirement and others before legalization. Members also rejected following through on a 2006 law that ordered the government to build 700 miles of two-tier fencing on the 2,000-mile-long border.