Marco Rubio has taken heat from moderates and conservatives alike on his stance on illegal immigration, but he isn't backing down, but is doubling down on his liberal position regarding the hot-button topic.
MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday that if he is elected president, he will not look to deport 12 million people in the U.S. illegally, and will instead propose solutions to accommodate those who have no criminal record.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Rubio, campaigning in Iowa ahead of the state's leadoff presidential caucuses, said that the realistic approach to America's problems with illegal immigration is to round up only criminals, while finding ways to accommodate the rest.
“We're not going to round up and deport 12 million people,” Rubio said, speaking on his campaign bus from eastern Iowa. “Criminals can't stay. Felons, people who are dangerous — they are not staying.”
“But we're going to deal with the people that are here,” he added.
Addressing reporters later Friday, Rubio noted that the approach he sees as feasible is to administer a background check for individuals who have lived in the U.S. “for a defined period of time.” If passed, provide authorization for anyone in the U.S. illegally to get a 10-year work permit.
“We're not going to force it down their throat,” he said in the interview, later remarking to journalists: “You have to learn English. You have to pay a huge fine. You have to start paying taxes. You get a work permit. And that's what you'll have for at least 10 years. That's my idea.”
The establishment wing of the party finds his views disingenuous — because he backed out of the Gang of Eight immigration bill, and the conservatives in his party has criticized that he was ever even involved in the legislation. Marco seems to be alone on his stance on illegal immigration, and should the issue become a major one going forward in the primaries, Marco may very well find his support base fleeing to Trump and Cruz.
Source: Associated Press