This morning Florida senator Marco Rubio (R) made the Sunday talk-show circuit to talk immigration.
Here is his appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Rubio is “hopeful” that an immigration agreement will be announced this week. What follows are some selected quotes of what Rubio said today:
I think this bill answers all of the questions that people raise. That’s why it’s taken so long, that’s why we spent so much time on it; that’s why we continue to spend time on it.
This bill does three things that are fundamentally important for our country. It modernizes our legal immigration system – something we need to do no matter what. It puts in place the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States, potentially in the world. And it once and for all deals with the issue of those that are here illegally, but does so in a way that is fair and compassionate but does not encourage people to come illegally in the future, and isn’t unfair to the people that have done it the right way.
This is not a theory – [11 million undocumented] are actually here. We’re not talking about bringing millions of people here illegally. They are here now and they are going to be here for the rest of their lives. The proposals in the past that some have advocated is to make their lives miserable so that they’ll leave on their own, or to basically ignore the problem, which is happening now, and is de facto amnesty. And what we’re proposing is to actually deal with them.
If [people] pass [a rigorous background check] … they’ll be given the opportunity to pay an application fee and a fine, and in return for that, they will get a worker permit that will allow them to stay in the U.S.; work, travel and pay taxes.
They will not qualify for any federal benefits of any kind, including Obamacare, and they will have to be in that system for over ten years before they can apply to the existing legal immigration system for a green card – not a special path, the same path as everybody else. And of course, that will be dependent upon certain security measures being met. That means securing the border, universal e-verify, and a universal entry-exit tracking system. If those three things are not in place, that green card process won’t begin, even if the ten years has elapsed.
The fact of the matter is that while I am not in favor of a housekeeper or a landscaper crossing the border illegally, what keeps us up at night is the worry that a terrorist can come across that border one day – or the activities that are being undertaken there now by criminal gangs that are human traffickers. And so this addresses that as well.