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Rubio: I’ve Never Supported Amnesty, Comments I Made In 2010 Were In Context of ‘Fast Path’ Bill

Republican presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio stated that he has never supported amnesty, and that statements he made on immigration in 2010 were in the context of another bill that gave “a real fast path” to citizenship on Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.

Rubio said [relevant remarks begin around 2:50] of an ad put out by pro-Jeb Bush PAC Right To Rise USA, “this is a campaign about important issues, I mean, ISIS is setting people on fire in cages. We have a president that has undermined our national security. Our military is about to have the smallest Army since the end of the Second World War, the smallest Navy in 100 years, and the smallest Air Force ever. So, these are things campaign[s] put out, and they can put — spend their money on whatever they want.” He added that while he doesn’t control them, he has seen ads put out by superPACs supporting him, and believes they are “factual” and deal with policy issues.

Rubio was then asked about whether his change of position on the Gang of Eight was “a political decision, because it can’t get through? Or a principled decision that you literally have changed your mind?” He answered, “No. First off, I do not support amnesty, and I never have. I have always believed there has to be real consequences for violating our immigration laws. When I’m president, there will not be amnesty, criminal aliens will be immediately deported, and, for example, sanctuary cities are going to lose their federal funding.”

Anchor Bret Baier objected, “But what you said on the campaign trail in 2010 and what you said when you were pushing the Gang of Eight bill were two different things.”

Rubio responded, “Yeah, but in 2010, that was in the context of the McCain, another bill that been filed in 2006, which basically was a real fast path, to not just legalization, but to citizenship. I believe there needs to be real and significant consequences to violating our immigration laws, and that that should be triggered and linked to security, securing our border. that’s why i supported the largest border surge in american history, 700 miles of fencing and walls, 20,000 new border agents. But the issue of immigration has changed as well. ISIS did not come into being until late 2013, 2014. Now, they have a sophisticated understanding of our immigration issue. They’re using the refugee crisis, the visa waivers. They’re even trying to get people into the united states as engineers, and students, and doctors, and this issue has now become primarily a national security issue.”

Rubio added that the Gang of Eight bill wouldn’t pass when he’s president. When asked if this was due to “principle” or “politics?” Rubio said, “Well, first of all, because it didn’t go far enough. [And] I said at the time. I said that that was the best you can do in the senate controlled by [Sen.] Harry Reid (D-NV), I wanted a conservative house to make it even stronger. And I repeatedly warned that it wasn’t strong enough on border security. But the bottom line is, when I’m president of the United State, we’re not going to have amnesty. You’re not going to getting into the country if we don’t know who you are, or why you are coming. We are going to enforce our immigration laws. And we’re going to deal with immigration for what it’s become now, which is a national security issue.”

The discussion concluded with Baier bringing up the fact that the K-1 fiancé(e) visa was part of the Gang of Eight bill. Rubio said that this visa is “an existing visa.” And the problem is the way the program was carried out with regards to the visa obtained by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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