Senator Marco Rubio responded to an odd question from CBS’s Bob Schieffer this morning — whether a President Rubio would sign the Gang of Eight Senate immigration bill that Rubio pushed for, and later abandoned — by laying out his new vision for how immigration reform should go. It sounds pretty good: He naturally emphasizes, for instance, that security should come first, but mentioned E-Verify and visa tracking before talking about border security per se, which would probably not benefit much from just giving the effort more money, as Congress is wont to do.
A lot of this, of course, might not turn out as well as it sounds. For instance, Rubio mentioned that he’d like to move the U.S. immigration system away from family-based priorities to a merit-based system (where immigrants are more likely to be admitted if they speak English, have certain skills, etc.). This is absolutely a worthy goal, but beware: Rubio and other proponents of the Gang of Eight legislation claimed that their bill would do this, but it really just massively increased both forms of legal immigration. A new Rubio plan should take a markedly different approach, but the ideas he offered Schieffer sound worthy.