Marco Rubio (R-Fla) has moved off of his inclusive position towards Syrian refugees. CNN reported in September 2015, that he was on record as saying that his administration potentially would be receptive to the idea of allowing refugees to reside in the United States. Rubio has consistently championed the message that the American dream should be available to all who seek it. However, during the same CNN interview, Rubio also explained that concern would always be present as the possibility that some seeking refuge could have terrorist motivations for coming to the United States.
In a recent article, Breitbart has described Rubio’s career as being largely defined by a collaboration with President Obama to provide amnesty as well as a path to citizenship to illegals. Breitbart also reported that, as recently as 2013, his signature immigration proposal would have dramatically impacted illegals through expanded welfare as well as providing assistance in establishing permanent residency for those whose visa has expired. Moreover, those individuals who have entered the U.S. illegally would also benefit under his plan.
In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, Marco Rubio pulling back from his inclusive position was to be expected. HuffPost Politics reports that his current position is that the United States should not take in more than the 10,000 Syrian refugees for which the nation has already made a commitment. Similarly, most of the candidates within the Republican presidential field have joined in, expressing concern that terrorists could potentially mask their nefarious intent by posing as refugees.
On Friday, Nov. 14, 2015, the terrorist attacks that ripped through Paris, killing 129 and critically injuring over 300, have motivated lawmakers to call for a strengthening of the policies in place for combating ISIS. Rubio tells HuffPost Politics that there is an immediate need for battling ISIS in areas other than the conventional battlefield. He would like to see a propaganda campaign designed to dismantle ISIS’s ability to attract new recruits.
Presenting themselves as a force unable to be defeated, ISIS has been able to use social media and various other mediums to attract disillusioned individuals to do their bidding. Special operations, in conjunction with air assaults, would continue as a major element within current U.S. strategy. However, Rubio suggests that U.S. propaganda efforts need to effectively highlight that ISIS leadership is under constant threat. Furthermore, all airstrikes, as well as the capture or killing of ISIS leaders, needs to be heavily publicized. The goal will be to dismantle the ability for ISIS to attract fighters and donors, as well as bring attention to a narrative that is clearly inaccurate.
Emphasis on the propaganda front underscores how little difference exists when compared to current policy towards the Syrian conflict. Under the Obama Administration, working more closely with allies, increased airstrikes, special operations, and shifting the burden to act towards nations within the region have comprised the bulk of the U.S. foreign policy. The Wall Street Journal Washington Wire reports that Rubio, in statements made during the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, Florida on Nov. 13, 2015, would like to see the collective defense clause of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invoked as a direct response to the Paris attacks. Rubio also described the Paris attacks as an act of war that demands a response under Article 5 of the NATO agreement.
The events that have taken place in Paris have provided the opportunity to reopen discussions related to current U.S. Policy. As each of the presidential hopefuls release their official statements, Marco Rubio moving off of his inclusive position represents a prime example of presidential politics in action.
By Garrett Sayers
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Huffpost Politics: Marco Rubio We Can’t Take in Syrian Refugees After Paris Attacks
CNN Politics: Marco Rubio Open to Allowing Some Refugees Into U.S.
HuffPost: Marco Rubio Wants More Anti-ISIS Propaganda
The Wall Street Journal Washington Wire: Political Insight and Analysis by Reid J. Epstein and the WSJ’s Capital Bureau November 15, 2015
Breitbart.com: Ted Cruz Distinguishes Himself From Marco Rubio With Pro-American Immigration Reform Plan
Image Courtesy of Politico AP Photo – Creative Commons License