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Rubio And Republicans Working To “Significantly & Substantially Increase Border Security”
Rubio: “I think here over the next few hours there’s going to be additional news to report on the work of some of my Republican colleagues to significantly and substantially increase the border security parts of the bill.”
Interview on FOX News’ “Hannity”
Senator Marco Rubio
June 19, 2013
Senator Marco Rubio: “Obviously the border security is critical. But here is why it’s critical: America is a special country. People want to come here from all over the world. In fact, it’s so special that some people are willing to come here and risk their lives, to come here illegally. And we understand that, but on the other hand we’re a sovereign country. And every sovereign country on the planet has a right to defend its borders and its sovereignty. And so that’s why border security is so critical. And so that’s why we’re going to have to step up what we do on border security. And that’s why it was one of the founding principles of this bill when it came out was that the border security needed to be a prominent feature of this bill. Now, since we’ve introduced it – and you know that on your show I’ve done this and on other shows – I’ve asked people for their input. We’ve asked people for their input, and they’ve raised valid concerns about what’s wrong with the proposal as it stands on border security. So, I think here over the next few hours there’s going to be additional news to report on the work of some of my Republican colleagues to significantly and substantially increase the border security parts of the bill.”
FOX News’ Sean Hannity: “You said in a Univision interview Senator that got a lot of play and a lot of anger among conservatives, you said ‘legalization is going to happen. First comes legalization, then comes measures to secure the border.’ Is that the priority? Shouldn’t it be secure the border first?”
Rubio: “Well, first of all, that’s not what the bill does. How the bill works is, permanent residency, which is the ability to stay in the country permanently and one day even apply for citizenship, for that to happen, E-Verify has to happen. And entry-exit has to happen. Tracking system has to happen. And all sorts of border provisions, including the ones that are hopefully going to be announced tomorrow that some of my Republican colleagues are going to produce. All those things must happen before anyone who has violated our immigration laws can possibly apply for permanent status. What some people have anxiety about is the fact that there are people living here now in the United States who will begin to work legally before all that is completed. But the way to look at it, and the way that I’ve looked at it is, they’re already here. They’re here now, and they’re working here now. The only difference if this passes is we’ll know who they are. They will have undergone a background check. They will have paid a fine, and they’re going to be paying taxes. If we don’t deal with them now, it’ll stay the way it is. And that’s de facto amnesty. And it’ll stay that way for 3 or 4 years. And I just think that’s bad for the country. Now, as far as being permanently here, they cannot be permanently here until those important elements that I’ve discussed, until those things happen.”
Hannity: “Senator, you’ve mentioned twice now what we might hear tomorrow about the bill. I have a source in Washington that told me early tomorrow there’s going to be a huge border security amendment added to the bill. I don’t know what you’re able to confirm here tonight. I’m told that the number of agents will be doubled. I’m told that there will be a completion of the 700 mile fence. That all of the technology issues, E-Verify, entry-exit, overstaying issues, that all of this will be done. And they will all be triggers before there’s any legalization or path to green card. Can you confirm any of that?”
Rubio: “Well, what I can tell you is that I have Republican colleagues here in the Senate that have been working very hard based on the public input that people are getting – and believe me, we’re getting it like you’re getting it on the show – on how we can improve border security. And they’ve been working hard to come up with a proposal. I know they’re still finalizing that and I’ll leave it to them to announce it because they’ve worked so hard on it. But let me just say that what I think you can expect to see tomorrow is a substantial improvement – a substantial improvement – in the border security parts of this bill. And we think that is important for the reasons I’ve outlined. This is not about anti-immigrants or anything or trying to be tough on anybody. We are a sovereign country. Every sovereign country in the world has the right to protect its borders and who has access to the country. Every country in the world does that. Why would we be expected not to do that?”
Hannity: “Senator, I think a lot of people were surprised that – in previous interviews that I had with you – you said that you’d secure the border first, but a number of amendments have been voted on that would do just that, a couple yesterday, and you voted against them.”
Rubio: “The reason why Sean, is that I think the proposals need to go even further. For example, one of the criticisms we’ve heard from the public input is the bill leaves it to the Department of Homeland Security to design the border plan. So did some of these amendments, although they were very well intentioned. And I think I know what they were trying to get at, and they were positive in that regard. But we don’t want, I don’t want to leave the plan’s design, based on all of this criticism and this input we’ve gotten, we don’t want to leave it to Janet Napolitano to design the border plan. We want to put it specifically in the bill. That’s one example. That’s one of the reasons, quite frankly, why I didn’t support those amendments because I think what my Republican colleagues to produce tomorrow is going to be substantially better.”
Hannity: “So you’re saying you knew that these other changes were coming. Let me actually ask you a finality question. If you’re not convinced that the border will be secure so this problem is gone forever, is that a deal killer for you?”
Rubio: “Yes, it’s not worth doing the bill if that doesn’t happen. Again, I try to remind everyone, the reason why border security is so important is not because we’re trying to be mean or harsh toward anyone. It’s because as a sovereign country, we have an obligation and a right to protect our borders and who has access to our country. America is a special country. We understand why people want to come here. And we feel sympathetic to people that because of desperation in their home countries they come here, risk their lives and what have you. But we can’t have that happen because if you lose that, you lose your sovereignty. And that’s why it’s so critical that the border elements in this bill be right in order for it to have the support it deserves. And quite frankly for me to even be involved in the issue to begin without the border security being a top priority – that’s not even something I could have started working on. Because it leaves the problem in place.”
Hannity: “Are you telling conservatives then to be patient with you? That the bill is not finished and maybe they’ve read too much into it too early?”
Rubio: “I think conservatives have a right to be skeptical about this. The federal government, under both Republicans and Democrats, in the past have failed to enforce our immigration laws. That’s why we have a 11 million people here that are illegally here. I just honestly concluded. Look, it’s obvious I didn’t do this for political gain. I mean this is not something that’s going to gain me any parades. People are frustrated, and I do understand it. What I hope they understand, is that I studied this issue carefully for almost two years, and I concluded that what we have in place right now is a disaster. It is hurting this country terribly. And if we don’t deal with this problem, particularly with the border security, but also identifying these people that are living in our country and start getting them to pay taxes and consequences for having violated our laws, we’re going to leave in place a disaster, a de facto amnesty disaster that’s hurting our economy, it’s hurting our sovereignty, it’s hurting our security.”
Hannity: “You know Senator, I guess the reason for the distrust, for example, every time we hear that there’s going to be spending reigned in and tax increases, the American people seem to always get the tax increase but they never get the spending cuts. So I guess you understand that distrust?”
Rubio: “I do. And that’s why those things are linked. That’s why the permanent residency – the green card – that’s why that won’t happen unless these border provisions happen first. And that I think will be made clear tomorrow when that amendment is filed, hopefully in the morning.”
Hannity: “Can I just get you to maybe reiterate – just because there’s been so much debate about this – you’re saying that you’re pretty confident tomorrow that the border will be secure first, with triggers, before there’s any path to legalization?”
Rubio: “Before there’s any path to permanent residency. Permanent legal residency in the United States. You have 11 million people here living here right now. We have to find out who they are. We have to run them through a background check. And they have to start paying taxes and they have to pay a fine. But that’s not permanent. That’s a temporary work status. The only difference between what they’re doing now and what I’m proposing is that they have to pay taxes and undergo a background check. They’re already here. They’re here among us.”
Hannity: “I keep hearing that the House is thinking about bifurcating it. Saying: ‘Alright, we’ll pass the border security first. Then soon as that is complete, then we’ll move forward with dealing with the 11 million people.’ If in fact they pass that and it goes to conference, would you support that?”
Rubio: “Listen, we can’t do anything without the House. Now, I’m not going to tell the House what to do. House members have strong opinions about this and they’re going to go in the direction they feel is right for the country. That’s the other thing people have to remember. Even if we finish the Senate process, it still has to go through the House in a lengthy process. There will be plenty of time for debate and improvement here. I think the House is already thinking about ideas and about how to make it better. Quite frankly, they have their own criteria on all of this.”
Hannity: “Senator, thank you for clarifying. We’re going to look forward to this announcement tomorrow. Thank you for giving us a heads up about it.”