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Rubio: Trump Remarks Let People Avoid Having a Debate About Illegal Immigration

Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio argued Donald Trump’s comments allow people who “don’t want to have a debate or talk about illegal immigration” “off the hook” on Tuesday’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on the Fox Business Network.

Rubio was asked about the criticisms he faced from Trump and the killing of Kate Steinle, Rubio stated, “Well, first of all, what happened in San Francisco’s a horrible tragedy, and our heart goes out to that family. That’s such a horrible incident. Irrespective, at the beginning from who did it, it’s just a terrible tragedy, and our heart breaks for that family. That individual, that criminal responsible for that act, had been deported on four separate occasions, and each time snuck back in. And it is absolutely true that we have a border and illegal immigration issue that is very serious. I’ve talked about that repeatedly, I have tried to pass bills to address it, I will continue to work to try to address it.”

He then addressed Trump’s comments, saying, “Here’s the problem, the problem is this is a very — border security is a very legitimate issue, illegal immigration is a very serious issue. What’s happened now is he’s made some other comments that are less responsible and those comments are now what everyone’s focused on. I think, the bottom line is — and so we’re led off the hook. All of these people that don’t want to have a debate about illegal immigration, they want to focus on trump’s comments about, you know, Mexicans as opposed to being focused on the real issue here which is the fact –.”

Host Neil Cavuto then jumped in to ask if he thought Trump’s comments hurt the GOP, Rubio answered, “I think the comments he has made, not about the party, I think the comments he’s made [have] allowed people that don’t want to have a debate or talk about illegal immigration to distract from the very serious debate on hand, and that is this, we have a broken legal immigration system, and we have an illegal immigration problem that isn’t just composed, by the way, of a porous border with Mexico. 40% of illegal immigrants in this country are coming legally. They are overstaying visas, and we are not tracking them, we have no idea who they are or where they. And I’ve said repeatedly that until we deal with that issue, we can’t do anything else on immigration, and I continue to say that, that is a very legitimate position, it is one that I think most Americans agree with, and we should be focused on that, and should not, through outrageous comments, let off the hook those people that don’t want to have that debate. And so all they do is focus on what Trump said and distract from the real issue, which is the fact that we have legal immigration laws that are not being enforced.”

Rubio also addressed current poll numbers, arguing that they “really mean nothing at this stage,” and pointed to the fact that he was polling first a few weeks ago.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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