Immigration Splits Senator Rubio From Mentor DeMintSubmitted by Diamond Dog on Tue, 04/30/2013 - 00:00
WASHINGTON — Jim DeMint helped make Marco Rubio a Senate star — and he could be forgiven for regretting it.
Mr. DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina, endorsed Mr. Rubio early on in his 2010 Senate bid, when he was still a long-shot Tea Party candidate, and Mr. Rubio has said that Mr. DeMint is his best friend, after his wife.
And yet, perhaps for the first time, the two men now find themselves at odds on a major issue. In 2007, Mr. DeMint was instrumental in helping to kill legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, and now, six years later, Mr. Rubio, Republican of Florida, is a pivotal member of a bipartisan Senate group that has written a bill that would do just what Mr. DeMint was fighting to prevent.
As Mr. Rubio’s immigration push meets vocal and persistent opposition, it will be Mr. DeMint, newly ensconced as the president of the Heritage Foundation, among those leading the charge. The foundation plans to issue an updated version of its 2007 economic study that helped doom the overhaul.
And Mr. DeMint has taken to the Internet, national newspapers and conservative talk radio to push against the legislation of his former protégé.