MYTH: The immigration legislation contains pet projects Marco Rubio secured that would benefit the cruise industry.
- Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Rubio, from hurricane-prone Florida, inserted an opportunity for foreigners to come to the U.S. for 90 days to work on relief operations after state or federal disasters. Mr. Rubio also gave a nod to the recently embattled cruise industry with a provision allowing certain foreigners to repair cruise ships made abroad, as well as other transportation equipment. Florida drew $6.7 billion in direct spending from the cruise industry in 2011, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. Mr. Rubio and Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), who both advocated for the construction industry during negotiations, included a provision, which many in the construction industry had feared dead, allowing foreigners to work in such higher-skilled jobs as electricians, plumbers and welders.” (Sara Murray, “Pet Projects Sprinkled In Immigration Bill,” Wall Street Journal, 4/21/13)
FACT: Senator Marco Rubio did not ask for anything in this legislation that would only affect one group of people, industry or Florida. The benefits of everything he has advocated for in this legislation would extend far beyond Florida to the rest of the nation. For instance, there’s nothing in the legislation that is exclusively designed for cruise ship repair workers. However, there is a provision Rubio suggested to make it easier for foreign workers to come to the U.S. for 90 days in the case of natural disasters or other emergencies. Of course, natural disasters and other emergencies are not exclusive to Florida. For example, it would affect the northeast when power companies need Canadian electricians to help restore power lines after big storms. If a cruise ship is stranded somewhere (like one that recently impacted Alabama), it would make it easier for foreign specialists to come fix it. Or if, God forbid, we ever had a nuclear accident somewhere in the U.S., Japanese experts with recent experience in dealing with such disasters would face fewer barriers to come help.