Jan 22 2018
Key excerpts of Rubio’s remarks are roughly transcribed below.
SANDRA SMITH: Will you support this measure at noon today?
RUBIO: Of course. I think we need we to reopen the government … the best way to deal with these issues is to reopen the government and then work those issues out. On the immigration thing, I’m a little baffled by why we have gotten wrapped around the axle here. It’s very simple. There are two things that have to happen: on the one hand we need to secure our border, we need to build a wall, we need to enforce our immigration laws in a sustainable and permanent way. It’s a promise the president made that the vast majority of Americans support. On the other hand—and the president agrees with this too—is we need to find some permanent status, at a minimum, for the people who are currently under DACA. That is the deal. What has complicated it is people come forward and say ‘well I want citizenship,’ which Republicans and even the president has expressed an openness to but only if you deal with chain migration.
So those additional issues can be negotiated out. But the base here is pretty easy to understand. You codify DACA, not citizenship, but you codify the legalization but you do the border and you really do it in a way that’s verified, not in a way that they can come back in two years and stop funding it. That’s the core of any deal. What’s complicated is all these other things that people are trying to add in, some of which I support, like getting rid of the diversity lottery. But the core of the deal is in place and it can’t be the product of a ‘gang.’
SMITH: So if you all come to agreement then at noon and there’s enough votes to pass this procedural vote, then ultimately to have the government reopen and stay open and funded through February 8th, is it even possible to hash out an immigration deal by then?
RUBIO: Well I just described basically what the deal would look like at its minimum, and that is it would be a deal that codifies DACA in exchange for a real wall, real border enforcement in a way that’s going to happen, not in a way that they can come back in a year and deny the funding and so the wall never happens, but the immigration reform on DACA does.
Now if you want to have a debate about additional things, like citizenship, then you’re going to have to have a debate about chain migration. If you want to add other things, it will have to be balanced. But that’s the core of any deal, and at a minimum what needs to happen. The president has expressed a willingness to do it, but it’s important for democrats to understand: nothing is going to happen unless we can figure out a way to permanently fund the wall and the enforcement that the president wants, and that the vast majority of Americans and myself included, support.
I think if people can get realistic, we can make a lot of progress very quickly, but it cannot be a product of a ‘gang’ of four or five people meeting somewhere, putting a bill on the floor, and saying ‘take it or leave it.’ I was part of an effort like that in 2013, I see others are trying to do it now. It won’t work. This issue is too critical to too many people to be a product of a small group and a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.