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Rubio Welcomes Republican Amendment To Create “Surge In Border Enforcement”
Rubio: “It’s a dramatic improvement in border security. It’s a major surge in border enforcement, and I think it’s important to explain why that’s necessary. … We have a right to protect our borders, every sovereign country does, and that’s why this is so critical. As long as we have this crisis on the southern border, it’s going to require a surge of resources like the one that this amendment outlines. I’ve been saying that for weeks, that the entire effort of immigration reform hinges on whether or not we get the border security parts of the bill right. And if you look at what’s being proposed here, this is a dramatic expansion and improvement in border security that I hope will allow, finally, for this legislation to have the support it needs.”
Interview on FOX News’ “America’s Newsroom”
Senator Marco Rubio
June 20, 2013
FOX News’ Martha MacCallum: “Are we near a deal on immigration reform in the Senate this morning? Republican Senators Hoeven and Corker are set to propose a new amendment that they say would beef up border security and that could bring a considerable amount of support to this bill, to the extent that it might pass. It would include this: full implementation of a universal E-Verify system, full implementation of an entry-exit tracking system for visitors to the United States, complete 700 miles of fencing on the border, completion of new tech technological infrastructure on that border, hire, train and deploy 20,000 new border agents – all of that would happen before illegal immigrants could even apply for permanent legal status. Let’s see how this goes with Florida Senator Marco Rubio who has been so aligned with this immigration reform fight throughout, and he joins me now. Good morning Senator, it’s good to have you here.”
Senator Marco Rubio: “Good morning, thank you.”
MacCallum: “What’s different about this? What’s stronger about it? Does it really protect our border?”
Rubio: “Well, it’s a dramatic improvement in border security. It’s a major surge in border enforcement, and I think it’s important to explain why that’s necessary. Look, as I said before, America’s a special country, so special that people are willing to come here no matter what. Even some people are willing to risk their lives and do it illegally. And we’re compassionate about that, but we’re also a sovereign country. We have a right to protect our borders, every sovereign country does, and that’s why this is so critical. As long as we have this crisis on the southern border, it’s going to require a surge of resources like the one that this amendment outlines. I’ve been saying that for weeks, that the entire effort of immigration reform hinges on whether or not we get the border security parts of the bill right. And if you look at what’s being proposed here, this is a dramatic expansion and improvement in border security that I hope will allow, finally, for this legislation to have the support it needs.”
MacCallum: “You’re hearing it from both sides on this. I asked people on our Twitter feed what I should ask you, what was on their minds. And they said, ‘Why is he in favor of amnesty? Why is he not tough enough on this issue? Why is he allowing people to get through? Why isn’t he protecting our border?’ What do you say to them? And I know you’ve had protests in some cases outside of your offices in Florida.”
Rubio: “Well, clearly there are people that are unhappy about this issue and, listen, I do understand it, I really do. People are frustrated that America’s so generous when it comes to immigration, and yet people have taken advantage of our laws. And they feel like, look, we are a sovereign country, every other country protects their border, why can’t we? I have studied this issue carefully because I share those frustrations. And the bottom line is if nothing happens, that frustration, what they’re frustrated about, that will stay in place. We’re not going to have the fencing, we’re not going to have the additional border agents, we’re not going to have E-Verify, we’re not going to have entry-exit tracking, and we’re not going to know who these millions of people are that are living in our country. They’re here now. They’re working, but they’re not paying taxes. And we don’t know if they’re criminals or not – we’re not going to have any of that. So, leaving what’s in place right now is not an option, we have to fix this. And I think this amendment is a dramatic improvement on border security, unlike anything that’s ever been proposed or has a chance of passing in the past.”
MacCallum: “Well, it’s a tough spot because some people don’t believe that this amendment will be solid. That all of these things will happen, 700 miles of fencing, electronic border security that’s visual, that’s a tangible thing people see, before any of the rest of this kicks in to allow new immigrants to come into the country.”
Rubio: “Well, that’s the key. That’s why those things have to be linked to one another, what they call a trigger. If you don’t say that all of those things have to happen before the legal residency happens. If you don’t say that, these things may not happen.”
MacCallum: “But that’s so many years. And then, you know, the other side says ‘That’s so long. Ten years before this process even begins?’ The benefits that could accrue to the Republican Party, as a result of immigration reform can’t wait that long, some of them say.”
Rubio: “You’re talking about on the immigrant reform side?”
Rubio: “Well, here’s the bottom line. Look, we’re compassionate people. This is not anti-anybody, but they violated the immigration laws of the United States. You don’t have a right to illegally immigrate to the United States. If we do anything for people, to accommodate them or figure out a way forward for them, we do it because it’s in our national interests and because we’re a compassionate people, not because we have to. I don’t think people that have violated the immigration laws have a right to demand anything. We’re doing this because it’s not good for this country to have 11 million people, most of whom have been here for longer than 10 years, here and we don’t know who they are and they’re not paying taxes. But beyond that, we have to secure our border. This amendment is a dramatic improvement. Think about what it offers – doubling the size of the border patrol. I mean these are dramatic steps forward of the kind that people have been begging for for years.
MacCallum: “I understand. I want to get your thoughts though on folks in your own party who say that this is too much, that the things have to happen simultaneously. Here’s Jeb Bush in a tweet that he put out earlier today. He says, ‘The Border Security Ruse. We need a pro-growth, humane fix for our broken immigration system.’ We’ve also heard similar things from Lindsey Graham, that these have to start now for Republicans to benefit from them, you know, with voters who feel very strongly about it. They say it’s got to start simultaneously.”
Rubio: “Well first of all, I don’t think this is about helping the Republican Party. I think this is about helping the United States of America. I’m not doing this for politics, and I think those who are arguing we should do it for politics are wrong about that. Our duty here is to the Constitution of the United States and to the people of this country. And one of our primary duties is the sovereignty of this nation. Every country enforces their border, every country, on the planet that I know tries or does secure their border. Why should the United States not be allowed to do the same? Why are we different? Why are we expected not to secure our border? I don’t think that’s fair.”
MacCallum: “So what will be the signal to you? If this passes, what’s the signal that all those things have been accomplished, that are on that list? And that now it is time to you know, sort of open the gates.”
Rubio: “Well, the gates aren’t open. On the contrary, we’re reforming our legal immigration system so that it works better. We’re going to have a way of knowing people who are here illegally now by overstaying their visas with the entry-exit tracking system. People that are illegally here are not going to be able to find jobs. And those who are illegally here, we’re going to know who they are, they’re going to be background checked, they’re going to pay a fine, and they’re going to start paying taxes. Many of them for the first time in their lives. So, it’s not an open ended question. We’ll have the kind of border security measures that have never really been in place in the past.”
MacCallum: “Very interesting. Senator, we’ll see what happens. Thank you so much for being here.”