Rubio, in St. Lucie County, says immigration bill does not offer amnesty to illegalsby George Bennett | May 1st, 2013
Members of the group Floridians for Immigration Enforcement say Rubio is breaking a 2010 campaign promise to oppose amnesty because Rubio has become a key supporter of legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for people who are now in the country illegally.
“I expended shoe leather and time and energy helping Marco Rubio become the senator in Florida and now he’s gone back on his campaign promises on amnesty,” said Ed Bender of Pompano Beach. “You want to call it a path to citizenship…the net result is people get to call themselves citizens on some level and the reality of it is billions and billions of additional dollars that this country does not have to support new citizens.”
Rubio, in a brief interview with the Politics column before his speech, said the bill he and other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” have drafted does not grant amnesty to the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.
“I think their definition of amnesty is anything that doesn’t deport 11 million people. And I say ‘theirs’ – that specific group, I’m not saying everybody has that same definition,” Rubio said of the demonstrators.
“When you’re asking someone to pay a $2,000 fine, an application fee, undergo a background check and a national security background check and all the other elements that are involved in this and wait 10 years before they can even apply for a Green Card and not qualify for any federal benefits – when you’re asking someone to go through all of that, that’s not amnesty. That’s a significant undertaking,” Rubio said.
Rubio has repeatedly called the Senate legislation a “starting point” and says he’s open to amendments and changes to the bill.
“I never pretended that eight senators could come up with a piece of legislation that we could offer to everyone as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition,” Rubio said.
To win support in the Republican-controlled House, Rubio said, “I think where we still need to do a little bit of work is on firming up the border security things to ensure that the border security happens.”