Schumer Corrects Rubio on Immigration Bill Trigger

In an interview broadcast Sunday morning on the Univision news program "Al Punto", Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) corrected an erroneous description of the new Senate immigration reform legislation by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Sen. Rubio, who has emerged as one of the most outspoken and widely quoted advocates of the bill, has published a detailed analysis of the bill on a webpage that describes it as providing "the toughest border security and enforcement measures in U.S. history".

The Florida Republican lists six "required security triggers that must be achieved before the newly legalized are allowed to apply for green cards."

Here is his explanation of Metric Number 3: "DHS must achieve 100 percent border awareness and at least 90 percent apprehension rates in high-risk sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border (within five years of bill's enactment)."

In his interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos, Schumer contradicted that explanation of the bill, without mentioning Rubio by name. The New York Democrat cited an unnamed newspaper as the source of the error.

Schumer said the bill provides that: "you have to have more people on the border, more drones on the border, and more enforcement on the border. But the 90 percent which was listed in one of the newspapers is a goal. It's not the trigger."

While Univision provided a simultaneous translation of Schumer's comments into Spanish, the New York Democrat's response was clearly audible in English.

Here is his full statement, which he made in response to a question from Ramos about the bill's border-security provisions:

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We would not get Republican support in the bill unless we made progress on further securing the border. But to me that was a small price to pay as long as we were sure that people could earn a path to citizenship. And so the triggers, the metrics in our bill, are very achievable and very specific. In other words, you have to have more people on the border, more drones on the border, and more enforcement on the border. But the 90 percent that was listed in one of the newspapers is a goal. It's not the trigger.

The text of the Senate bill supports Schumer's refutation of Rubio's interpretation. While the bill calls upon the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a strategy to apprehend or turn back across the border 90 percent of illegal entrants in heavily trafficked areas of the border, it does not require that that goal be reached.

Instead, the bill provides that if the Secretary certifies that the goal has not been met within five years after passage of the act, a special "Southern Border Security" will be established for the purpose of "making recommendations to the President, the Secretary, and Congress on policies to achieve and maintain the border security goal."