By ASHLEY PARKER and BRIAN KNOWLTON
Senator Marco Rubio offered an extraordinary endorsement of legislation to overhaul the nation’s badly strained immigration system on Sunday when, after holding back for weeks, he appeared on no fewer than seven television talk shows to explain and defend a plan that he said would be “a net positive for the country, now and in the future.”
As Mr. Rubio, a Florida Republican who is a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators preparing to unveil their immigration legislation on Tuesday, pressed his case again and again on the airwaves, new details of the bill emerged. Prominent among them was a proposed fee of roughly $2,000 that illegal immigrants would have to pay before they could earn legal status.
As part of that plan, which was still being completed on Sunday, these immigrants would have to pay $500 when they apply for a temporary work permit, and would have the next 10 years to pay the remaining $1,500 or so, a person familiar with the negotiations said. ...
A Senate aide described the $2,000 figure as “significant but not impossible, punitive but not unreasonable.” Democrats and immigration advocates had originally pushed for a lower amount.
... In each appearance he spoke with a sense of urgency, arguing that the plan did not constitute amnesty for illegal immigrants. ...
Even Karl Rove, the former political adviser to President George W. Bush who is known as a hard-nosed partisan strategist, welcomed the cooperation on immigration.
Even Karl Rove!