Marco Rubio on Saturday night argued he didn’t run from past immigration reform legislation, saying he didn’t want to pursue a bill he knew wouldn’t pass.
The Florida senator has been facing fire over his support of the 2013 immigration reform bill, dubbed the “Gang of Eight.” The bill would have granted a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
“We can’t get that legislation passed. 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,” Rubio said during ABC News’s GOP presidential debate.
“Every effort over the last 10 years to do those comprehensively has failed. And it has failed because the American people have zero trust that the federal government will enforce our laws,” he continued.
Rubio went on to say Americans will be more willing to support passing immigration reform after beefing up border security, finishing the border fence and enforcing the law.
“Once that’s in place, I believe 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 possible,” he concluded.
Chris Christie fired back at Rubio, accusing him for deflecting the question.
“The question was did he fight for his legislation?” Christie said. “It’s abundantly clear that he didn’t.”
By Lisa Hagen for The Hill
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