Tea Party Turns Against Rubio at Immigration Rally

Why the immigration bill is only going to get more conservative or face death.

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National Republican leaders agree they need to get on board with immigration reform if they have a prayer of succeeding in future elections, but their base is not so sure. Case in point: a six-hour "press conference" held by Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, on Wednesday lambasting the current debate.

[ALSO: Has the GOP Lost Latinos on Immigration?]

"Members of Congress are unlikely to get a full debate inside the halls of Congress," King said, as he announced the event. "So we are taking the debate outside its halls."

But King's rally didn't just prove conservatives are angry. First it showed filibusters are not the only feats of strength left in Congress. And second, while polling indicates Americans overwhelmingly support immigration reform, some of the loudest voters are not on board.

The event attracted more than 300 voters and revealed just how long the road ahead is for immigration reform. Even if Republican lawmakers could be convinced to support a path to citizenship, for many, the decision could have election-year consequences.

Conservatives at the rally booed the mere mention of Sen. Marco Rubio's name. The Florida Republican was once a tea party favorite, but protesters said he has lost his appeal because he helped draft the Senate's bipartisan immigration proposal.

"He has gotten used by the establishment Republicans because he is Hispanic to go out and do their dirty work, and I likely cannot support him if he ran for president now," says Ronald King, a 44-year-old North Carolina voter.

Edward and Pauline Wisniewski -- who traveled from their home near Niagara Falls, N.Y., to participate in the rally -- share the same concerns. They came to warn Rubio that engaging with their own Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is a bad idea.

"You don't try to deal with Chuck Schumer," Edward Wisniewski says. "Rubio's been caving and it is because he has been dealing with slewfoots like Schumer. He's hurting his reputation."

Democrats may control the Senate where the comprehensive immigration bill is being considered, but Republicans in the Senate, the House of Representatives and even conservative constituents back home are driving the debate.

[PHOTOS: Thousands Rally Over Immigration Reform]

From bolstering border security to ensuring immigrants who entered the country illegally pay all back taxes before being put on a path to citizenship, Republicans have a long list of changes they want included in the bill before they commit to passing immigration reform.

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have been carefully negotiating with the "gang of eight" this week to craft an amendment to the bill that would require the border to be controlled before immigrants could be put on a path to citizenship. As written now, the Department of Homeland Security has to only submit a plan to secure the border before immigrants who are in the United States illegally receive a legal status.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced amendments that would bar immigrants from accessing health care and Social Security benefits.

"Right now I am really concerned about a number of items and you know I would like to vote for this bill, but it is going to need a lot of work," Hatch says.

Democrats within the gang of eight have entertained GOP suggestions to ramp up security measures and restrict benefits for immigrants in hopes that adopting a few conservative provisions could help them clinch more Republican votes. The group has said getting 70 votes in the Senate would make it nearly impossible for the House to dismiss its efforts.

But House leaders want the American public to know that when it comes to immigration reform, the Senate is not the only show in town.

[READ: Immigration Bill Finally Heads to Senate Floor]

As Democrats and Republicans in the Senate hurry to pass comprehensive immigration reform before the July 4 recess, the House of Representatives is continuing to chug along on immigration reform piece by piece.

Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to lay out a game plan on how to navigate the immigration debate. Tuesday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., presided over the mark up of the House's first immigration bill, the Safe and Fortify Enforcement Act, which would bolster internal immigration enforcement.