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Marco Rubio – Republican Candidate

Last Updated: March 17, 2017 at 5:10 am

Here's what Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida, is saying about immigration:

Marco Rubio

If Donald Trump builds his wall the way he built Trump tower, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it. #GOPDebate - Via Twitter

~~ Feb 25, 2016

When I am president, we are going to secure the border. #GOPDebate - Via Twitter

~~ Feb 25, 2016

"I’ve said this repeatedly – Americans of Hispanic descent are voters. They care about the future of our country, they care about everything else people care about. They care about jobs. They care about terrorism. They are impacted by illegal immigration negatively in communities that are overrun by that. I’ve always said that about Americans of Hispanic descent." -  FoxNews

~~ Feb 24, 2016

"BLITZER: Senator Cruz has called your immigration plan amnesty, and has an add out there comparing it to President Obama's. He says both of you support allowing undocumented immigrants legal status here in the United States after a background check, paying a fine, and paying taxes.

Are those claims correct?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, and before we do anything, I've been abundantly clear on this. When I'm president of the United States, before we do anything on immigration, we are going to secure the border. And, that's not just the physical border with Mexico, it's Visa overstays. That's 45 percent of the problem right thereIt also has to do -- that's why we need e-verify, and entry-exit tracking system, and so-forth. And, until that happens, we're not doing anything else. And then we'll see what the American people are willing to support.

And Donald mentioned, because he mentioned me in his answer, that his position on immigration is what has driven this debate. Well, the truth is, though, that a lot of these positions that he's now taking are new to him.

In 2011, he talked about the need for a pathway to citizenship. In 2012, Donald criticized Mitt Romney, saying that Mitt lost his election because of self-deportation.

And so even today, we saw a report in one of the newspapers that Donald, you've hired a significant number of people from other countries to take jobs that Americans could have filled.

My mom and dad -- my mom was a maid at a hotel, and instead of hiring an American like her, you have brought in over a thousand people from all over the world to fill those jobs instead.

So I think this is an important issue. And I think we are realizing increasingly that it's an important issue for the country that has been debated for 30 years, but finally needs to be solved once and for all.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, self-deportation is people are going to leave as soon as they see others going out. If you look at Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, they started moving people out and the rest of them left.

Self-deportation, as I really define it, and that's the way I define it, is you're going to get some to go, and the rest are going to go out.

As far as the people that I've hired in various parts of Florida during the absolute prime season, like Palm Beach and other locations, you could not get help. It's the up season. People didn't want to have part-time jobs. There were part-time jobs, very seasonal, 90-day jobs, 120-day jobs, and you couldn't get.

Everybody agrees with me on that. They were part-time jobs. You needed them, or we just might as well close the doors, because you couldn't get help in those hot, hot sections of Florida.

RUBIO: That -- my point that I made was you had criticized Mitt Romney for self-deportation. You said that his strategy of self- deportation is why he lost the election.

And I think people in Florida would be surprised, because, in fact, the article that was today, they interviewed a number of people that would have been willing to do those jobs, if you would have been willing to hire them to do it.

TRUMP: I criticized Mitt Romney for losing the election. He should have won that election. He had a failed president. He ran a terrible campaign. He was a terrible candidate. That's what I criticize Mitt Romney -- I mean, ran...

RUBIO: No, he...

TRUMP: Excuse me. He ran one terrible campaign. That's an election that should have been won.

RUBIO: Well, in fact, I agree we should have won and I wished we would have, but, in fact, you did criticize him for using the term "self-deportation." I mean, that's on the record and people can look it up right now online.

But, again, I just want to reiterate, I think it's really important, this point. I think it's fine, it's an important point that you raise and we discuss on immigration. This is a big issue for Texas, a huge issue for the country.

But I also think that if you're going to claim that you're the only one that lifted this into the campaign, that you acknowledge that, for example, you're only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally.

You hired some workers from Poland...

TRUMP: No, no, I'm the only one on the stage that's hired people. You haven't hired anybody." - WashingtonPost

~~ Feb 18, 2016

COOPER:  Some - President Obama said something I want to ask you about so you can - you can respond to it. He said yesterday, you've got a candidate who sponsored a bill that I supported to finally solve the immigration problem and he's running away from it as fast as he can."

RUBIO:  Yes, but President Obama has no standing to talk about immigration because his party controlled the White House, the House and the Senate for two years and they did nothing. And then, after, uh, Barack Obama has now put in place two unconstitutional executive orders, which has made it even harder to move forward on immigration. So I believe this issue has to be dealt with.  And if you're serious about dealing with immigration, the only thing I'm saying is you'd better secure the border first.  Nothing else is going to be able to happen.  Nothing else can happen until you secure the border first. The people have been very clear about that.  And until we - that's the key that unlocks the door to dealing with the rest of the issue.  Until you do that, we just won't be able to make any progress.

COOPER:  But as you know, I mean the president is saying you sponsored a bill that he supported.

RUBIO:  Yes, and it doesn't - it can't pass.  It doesn't have the votes.  People won't support a comprehensive approach to immigration.  It's now been tried three times in the last decade.  It has failed each time. And so now we have to understand that the only way forward is through a step by step approach that begins by finally securing our border. We're a sovereign country.  Every country has a right to control who comes here, how they come here, when they come here.  And we are the most generous country in the world on immigration.

COOPER:  Do you think it could pass when you sponsored it?

RUBIO:  Well, I didn't think the Senate version would pass as it sovereign country.  Every country has a right to control who comes here, how they come here, when they come here.  We are the most generous country in the world on immigration. 

COOPER:  Do you think it could pass when you sponsor it?

RUBIO: Well, I didn't think the Senate version would pass as is.   I knew it wouldn't.  In fact, I repeatedly said that during the process.  I said, "this bill is not strong enough." I understood the Democrats controlled the Senate and so that's the best we could produce in a Senate controlled by Democrats.  We wanted to send it to the House.  We had hoped the House Republicans Conservatives would make it even better.  They never took it up and so there's no way for it. I can just tell you after that experience, for a fact of having been through that, no progress will be made on immigration in this country until we prove to the American people – not just pass a law but a prove to them that we've built the sufficient walls and fences on the border.  That we have mandatory e-verify, that we have entry-exit tracking system to prevent Visa overstays and that we hire additional border agents and resources to secure the border. …

COOPER: I want you to meet Jason Lee, he's a minister, the father of four kids, and he says he is still undecided. Welcome.

QUESTION: Thank you. I had the same shortcoming in the NFL as well, Senator.

RUBIO: I think almost everyone does, Jason.

QUESTION: Most GOP candidates point to Ronald Reagan as a model president they look up to, so I want to ask in terms of looking at him as a model for immigration and refugee resettlement. He had the refugee resettlement annual cap as high as 200,000 in one of his terms.

So, my question is looking at him, and considering yourself to be a compassionate conservative, will you let more vetted, secured, refugees into this country? What will your plan be for this American tradition of refugee resettlement?

RUBIO: Yes, sir. I believe that America must always continue to be a place that allows people seeking refuge from political persecution and violence to come.

Here's the difference between Reagan's world, and the one we live in now. Because, policies have to reflect the times in which you live. When Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, there did not exist a radical jihadist group that was attempting to use the immigration laws of other countries against those countries. And, that's the threat we now face.

It's the reason why, for example, in America there was a time in many communities when nobody locked their doors. No everybody locks their doors. And, it isn't because we hate people outside of our home, it's because we love the people inside of our home.

And, so today, in the process by which we accept people into the United State is going to have to be different. We know for a fact that ISIS, for example, has captured key places in Syria where passports are produced. And, so you've seen open sourced reporting that today ISIS has the capability of basically creating legitimate Syrian passports, except the picture and the name is not exactly who it says it is.

This is a real threat for America. If we accept 10,000 Syrian refugees tomorrow, and 9,999 of them were good people, and one of them was an ISIS killer, we have a big problem. We have to be 100% right given the threat we now face.

So, what I've said is it's not about a religious test, it's not about discrimination. It's just that we have to be 100% right. And, that means that our vetting process must be stricter than it's ever been. Here's the hard truth, it's almost impossible to vet people now from that part of the world. We don't have a database to rely on. You can't just call up 1-800-Syria and ask them, "Do you know so-and-so," and, "do you know who they are, and why they're coming?"

It's just become harder and harder to vet people from certain parts of the world. So, my point is we'll always be a country that's open to refugees, but in the 21st century, if we don't know who you are, and we don't know why you're coming 100% for sure, we're not going to be able to allow you to come in because the threat we face is so significant now, and so real." - CNN

~~ Feb 17, 2016

"The Senate immigration law was not headed towards becoming law. Ideally it was headed towards the House, where conservative members of the House were going to make it even better. Those were one of the things that I complained about — in fact, I was saying, these standards are too low, it'll never pass the House, it'll never become law." - NBCNews

~~ Feb 15, 2016

BASH: Let's talk about the debate last night, because there were a lot of extraordinary moments. But one specifically was when you turned to Senator Cruz and questioned his ability to speak Spanish. Let's listen.

RUBIO: I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish. 

And, second of all, the other point that I would make...

BASH: Senator, were you calling into question whether or not Senator Cruz is a real Latino?

RUBIO: No, I was calling into question whether he even knows what I'm saying. 

When he -- he points to this interview on Univision in which he claims I said something different than what I say in English. He has no idea. He's just going off what other people are telling him. And it's false. It's just not true. 

And the bottom line is, there's been this disturbing pattern over the last couple weeks from Ted Cruz of just saying things that are not true. Just in the last week, he's lied about my marriage -- record on marriage. He's lied about my record on Planned Parenthood. 

Of course, he lied about Ben Carson in Iowa. But, last night, Donald Trump says he's issuing robo-calls, doing the same thing to him. And then he also is not telling the truth about immigration. I mean, he goes around portraying himself as this purist, you know, Ted Cruz, the purist on immigration.

But I was there two, three years ago, when he was, you know, passionately arguing at the committee that we needed to pass immigration reform, we needed to do bring people out of the shadows, we needed to find a compromise on people that were in this country illegally. 

And now he portrays himself as this sort of purist who's never changed his position on the issues. It's just not true. And I think this pattern of saying things that aren't true has become very disturbing when it comes to Ted Cruz's campaign. - CNN

~~ Feb 14, 2016

DICKERSON: Senator, I wanted to ask you, just going back to immigration, in the last debate, you listed your series of accomplishments in the Senate. One thing you left off was — was immigration reform. Is it the case that in your list of accomplishments you can’t mention that?

RUBIO: Well, no. It’s not the case. It didn’t pass, and we haven’t solved immigration in this country. It’s still a problem. It is worse today than it was three years ago, which is worse than it was five years ago. And it has to be confronted and solved.

But the only way forward on this issue — you asked a question about flexibility. Let me tell you about that. One of the things that you need in leadership is the ability to understand that to get things done, you must figure out the way to get it done. You will not pass comprehensive immigration reform. People do not trust the federal government.

They want to see the law being enforced. They want to see illegal immigration come under control. They want to see that wall. They want to see E-Verify. They want to see all of these things working, and then they will have a conversation with you about what do you do with people that have been here a long time that are otherwise, you know, not criminals. But they’re not going to do it until you first enforce the law. - NYTimes

~~ Feb 13, 2016

"Well, first of all, I think amnesty is the forgiveness of a wrongdoing without consequence and that — I’ve never supported that. I do not support that. I think there has to be consequences for violating our immigration laws. What I think is clear about this issue to begin with is we’re not going to be able to make progress on illegal immigration until first, illegal immigration is brought under control.

You go back to 1986, when they legalized three million people and they promised to secure the border. It didn’t happen, and as a result, people have lost trust in the federal government. It is now clear that the only way to make progress on immigration is not just to pass a law that enforces the law, but actually prove to people that it’s working.

They want to see the wall built. They want to see the additional border agents. They want to see E-Verify. They want to see an entry-exit tracking system. Forty percent of the people in this country illegally are entering legally and overstaying visas. And only after all of that is in place, then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support on this issue.

I think the American people will be very reasonable, but responsible, about how you handle someone who has been here a long time, who can pass a background check, who pays a fine and starts paying taxes and all they want is a work permit. But you can’t do any of that until you prove to people that illegal immigration is under control once and for all." - NYTimes

~~ Feb 13, 2016

STEPHANOPOULOS: Immigration, the most talked about issue online last night. You get a hit for being for the gang of eight bill, part of the gang of eight on immigration, also for running away from it.

So bottom line, was it a mistake to forge the original deal?

RUBIO: No, look, I went to Washington to try to solve problems. Immigration is a huge problem in Florida. And I saw an opportunity to do the best we could in a Senate controlled by liberals like Harry Reid in the hopes that the House would take it up and make it even better. It happened in the Senate, did not happen in the House.

Here's the bottom line, that's not the way we're going to do it when I'm president. We have a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate and I'm president, we're going to do it differently. We're going to do it the way I want to do it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if that's the best you could do, you would sign it?

RUBIO: Well, I don't think that's the right. I don't think that law, the way it was constructed, could have ever passed, because most certainly I think when you look at the House and the broader population in America, people don't want to move on immigration until you can prove to them that illegal immigration is under control.

And that's the point I've been making now for three years. We are not going to be able to do this comprehensively. As president, we will not. As president the first thing we're going to do is secure our border. And until the border is secure, nothing else is going to happen on immigration. And anyone who believes otherwise is either delusional or is not being honest.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But no regrets about being for the gang of eight, being part of the gang of eight?

RUBIO: I went up there to try to solve problems. It would have been easier to sit back and just give speeches and criticize what other people did.

I went up there to try to solve problems. Immigration is a big problem. And it's still -- it's harder today and worse today than it was three years ago." - ABCNews

~~Feb 7, 2016

"The American people will not support doing anything about people that are in this country illegally until the law is enforced first and you prove it to them. This has been abundantly clear. Every effort over the last ten years to this comprehensively has failed. And it has failed because the American people have zero trust that the federal government will enforce our laws. And that's why since then I have said repeatedly, if you are serious about immigration reform, then the key that unlocks the door to being able to do that is not just to pass a law says it is going to enforce the law, but to actually do it. To hire the 20,000 new border agents, to finish the fencing and walls, to put in place mandatory e-verify, to put an entry/exit system to prevent visa overstay. And once that’s in place and that's working, I believe the American people will support a reasonable but responsible approach to people that have been here a long time, who are not dangerous criminals, who pay taxes and pay fines for what they did. But until then, none of that is going to be possible."

Moderator: “But I’m asking did you fight for the legislation at the time or did you run from it? --

Rubio: Well, the legislation passed, but it has no support. In essence, it couldn’t pass in the House, it will never pass in the United States until we secure the border and it is not the way we're going to do when I am president. When I am president, we are going to enforce the law first, prove to people that illegal immigration is under control and then we'll see what the American people are willing to support when it comes to people that are not criminals who have been in the this country for a long time and who otherwise would like to say.” - NewYorkTimes

~~Feb 6, 2016