Yesterday Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the members of the Gang of Eight bipartisan group formed to tackle immigration reform, told radio host Hugh Hewitt that if certain amendments are not added to the final immigration bill that will hit the floor of the Senate for a full vote, he will not support the bill, a bill Rubio helped craft: “Well, I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time. So the answer is no.” However, Rubio also told Hewitt that he believes the bill will pass.
You can read the context of Rubio’s remarks in the following transcript excerpt here:
HH: I begin with United States Senator Marco Rubio from the great state of Florida. Senator, welcome back, it’s good to speak with you.
MR: Hugh, thanks for having me back.
HH: Earlier today on Fox, you told the audience that there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate for immigration reform. That’s big news. The second news, though, is are you going to offer amendments that you think will gather in enough votes?
MR: Well, let me first say that the news of what I said today on Fox about there not being the 60 votes, actually, Senator Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat, said the same thing last week. And that’s a fact. And the reason why is because while there’s a group, well, the majority of our colleagues are prepared to do immigration reform, they’re only prepared to do it if we ensure that this illegal immigration problem never happens again. And so there’s a handful of Democrats, and a sizeable number of Republicans that are saying to us we’re prepared to do immigration reform, but we have to make sure there isn’t another wave of illegal immigration. So for those who want immigration reform, the task is very simple. Let’s strengthen the border security parts of this bill so that they’re stronger, so that they don’t give overwhelming discretion to the Department of Homeland Security, and I think if we can do that, then you’re going to be able to get something done. But if you can’t, it’s not going to happen.
HH: And will you be the author of those amendments?
MR: We’re working on it right now. A lot of other…I’ll be involved in it for sure. I think there are other senators that have taken the lead, and I’ll let them kind of come out in the next couple of days with their specific ideas. But we’ve been involved on a daily basis working with them to get to the right point in terms of real measures. And what we’ve heard is people don’t want to just turn it over to the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a plan. They want the plan to be laid out specifically with real measurable, and I think that that’s a good approach. And so we’re working with members now to do that. And we expect to hear from them here in the next couple of days.
HH: If those amendments don’t pass, will you yourself support the bill that emerged from Judiciary, Senator Rubio?
MR: Well, I think if those amendments don’t pass, then I think we’ve got a bill that isn’t going to become law, and I think we’re wasting our time. So the answer is no. If they don’t pass, then we’ve got to keep working to ensure that we get to a bill that can become a law. We’re not interested in passing a Senate bill. We’re interested in passing a law that reforms a broken legal immigration system, that begins to enforce the law, and that deals with the 11 million people who are here illegally. And that’s the goal of this endeavor. And so if those amendments fail, we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and keep working until we can figure out one that will pass. But I don’t understand why anyone would be against it, as such, I don’t think there is a good reason to be against strengthening border security for our country.
The full transcript can be found on Hewitt’s site.