Rubio Didn't Know His Own Bill Allows Someone to Forge 2 Passports Before It's a Crime

July 19, 2013 - 11:49 AM

Marco Rubio, Charles Schumer, John McCain

Senators Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.), John McCain (R.-Ariz.)

(CNSNews.com) -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)--a Republican member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” who co-sponsored the Senate immigration bill and was one of 14 Republicans who ultimately voted for it--was unaware that his own bill allows a person to forge up to two passports without penalty.

“Under the Senate immigration bill, how many passports can someone forge before it becomes a crime?” CNSNews.com asked Rubio Thursday on Capitol Hill.

“How many--you can’t forge any passports,” Rubio replied. ”That’s a federal crime now.”

CNSNews.com: “It’s actually a part of the bill that it’s up, that you can do two, and three and on it’s a crime. Why would that be a part of it?”

Rubio: “Well, first of all, I think what you’re talking about is the way the law is described vis-a-vis, umm, waivers that people can get. And as I said, I mean, there are elements of that bill that continue to be, need to be improved, and I myself have disagreements about the way the waiver structure was put in the bill, and my hope is that it can be improved through the House process when they do their own bill.”

However, Section 3707 of the immigration bill (S. 744)  is titled, "Reform of Passport, Visa and Immigration Fraud Offenses." It makes no mention of any “waivers," but it does specifically amend Section 1541 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which currently requires criminal penalties for issuing “any” unauthorized passports. As amended by S. 744--the Senate immigration bill Rubio co-sponsored--a person would not be dealt criminal penalties until they forged "3 or more passports."

Printed on Page 777 of the bill, the language says: "SEC. 3707. REFORM OF PASSPORT, VISA, AND IMMIGRATION FRAUD OFFENSES.

"(a) TRAFFICKING IN PASSPORTS.—Section 1541 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: § 1541. Trafficking in passports (a) MULTIPLE PASSPORTS.—Subject to subsection (b), any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly—(1) and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; (2) forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes 3 or more passports; ‘(3) secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or (4) completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs, or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both." (See S 744.pdf)

The immigration reform bill passed the Senate June 27 on a 68-32 vote. All 52 Democrats, 2 independents, and 13 Republicans besides Rubio voted for passage, including Senators Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Chisea (N.J.), Susan Collins (Me.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John MicCain (Ariz,) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).