Rush Limbaugh thinks immigrants are moochers. While interviewing Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday, the conservative shock jock questioned the immigration reforms the bipartisan group of eight senators—including Rubio—are pushing for.
He pointed to “scholarly research” he had seen showing immigrants no longer come the U.S. to achieve the American dream, but because they believe “government is the source of prosperity.”
“It’s not about conservative principles and so forth, not the way it used to be. Are the Republicans stuck in the past in misjudging why the country is attractive to immigrants today?” asked Limbaugh.
“Limited government is always harder to sell than a government program,” Rubio said, but he felt he could deliver the message to Hispanics. “It’s easier to sell cotton candy than it is to sell broccoli to somebody, but the broccoli is better for you, and the same thing with a limited government,” he said.
The Florida lawmaker added that the immigrants he’s worked with, who eventually started their own businesses in the U.S., eventually “understand the cost of big government.”
Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro appeared on Tuesday’s Hardball and dismissed Limbaugh’s argument.
“These folks, who come over here–90-something percent of them come with best of intentions. They want to work, support their families. And quite frankly…These are people who are desperate people, oftentimes whose kids are starving, don’t have much to eat. They’re not able to make a living in Mexico or another country where they’re from and so they come to the United States in the same spirit that the Irish, Germans and Italians came–and that is for opportunity. And it’s not to get rich. It’s an opportunity just to survive,” said Castro, who’s seen by many as a future Senate candidate.
Castro said he was optimistic that an immigration bill–which Obama pushed for–would pass the Republican-led House. “With the American election, I believe the American people made it clear, I believe that they want the Congress and they want the president to finally tackle this issue and finally get it done,” he said.
NBC’s News’ chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd told Chris Matthews that he also thought legislation would pass. “Politically there is a tone in immigration debate, the fact that you have business that needs this—whether it’s agriculture or high-tech, the business community is demanding Washington to do something about this. And then you have the politics simply of the Hispanic vote,” said Todd. He noted the GOP likes to point out that the number one issue among Hispanics is not immigration. But Todd argued that it is still crucial and likened it to women voters and contraception. “The number one issue for suburban working women isn’t contraception, but if you’re saying weird things like ‘legitimate rape’ then that voting bloc isn’t going to listen to you” on other big issues.