Conservatives exiting a private meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio to discuss immigration reform predicted that legislation pending before Congress would move significantly to the right as it proceeds toward President Barack Obama's desk.
The Florida Republican, a key architect of the Senate bill, called the gathering to update conservative supporters and skeptics of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Rubio also invited feedback and recommendations to strengthen the package in his bid to build support among the conservative grass roots and GOP lawmakers.
More than one who attended the meeting said changes are probably needed to strengthen the border security measures — and to counter conservative fears that neither this White House, nor future administrations, will follow through on the legislation's security directives.
"Whatever bill makes it to the president's desk will be different than the one that we see now, and I think it will move significantly to the right," said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute and one of 30 who attended the late Tuesday afternoon meeting.
An individual present at the meeting described the hour-plus exchange as mostly positive, adding that about 30 people attended, including representatives of tea party groups. When asked if Rubio's staff provided any refreshments, a few who were present said that plenty of water bottles were provided, a sly reference to the senator's State of the Union rebuttal, when he paused mid-speech to a big gulp of bottled water. A partial list of those who were present is included after the jump.
Al Cardenas, American Conservative Union Sal Russo, Tea Party Express Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute Ken Weinstein, Hudson Institute Alex Nowrasteh, CATO Institute Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Convention Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute Niger Innis, Tea Party.Net Todd Cefaratti, Tea Party.Net Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations Paul Wolfowitz, American Enterprise Institute Steven Law, American Crossroads Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Network Norm Coleman, American Action Network John Shadegg, Visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation