Marco Rubio on Immigration Reform: ‘We’re Not Going to Ram It Down Your Throat’

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to CNBC correspondent J
Mark Lennihan/AP

During town hall meetings in South Carolina yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio was asked about stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

In response, Rubio repeated his usual list of policy proposals to fix the border, citing plans for mandatory E-verify and an entry-exit tracking system for visas, and additional walls and fencing. He also repeated his promise to secure the border before addressing the problem of what to do with illegal immigrants who are here.

But Rubio added a new promise to any notion of immigration reform under his presidency: We won’t ram it down your throat like President Obama.

“I think people will be reasonable but responsible how to deal with that, but it’s got to be something that the American people support — it can’t be something we ram down their throat and say, ‘This is the way it’s going to be,’” he said.

Rubio vowed that he wouldn’t do anything on immigration until the he secured the border in a way that the American people could “believe and see with your own eyes.”

“We’ll see what you’ll support, we’re not going to ram it down your throat,” he said.

He pointed out that President Obama was doing it backwards by offering amnesty to children of legal immigrants without securing the border. Human traffickers took advantage of the situation, he explained, by lying to parents in Latin American countries about what was possible and creating an influx of illegal immigrants.

“I know this issue personally, no one can spin me on this issue because I know every aspect of it,” he said.

As before, Rubio argued that he knew more about illegal immigration than any other candidate, and was best prepared to take on the issue because he was from a community of immigrants.

“We’ll deal with it, because what we have now is bad for everyone,” he said. “It’s bad for the people coming here illegally, it’s bad for America, bad for our communities, and it violates the rule of law and creates a chaotic and basically anarchy that we can’t afford as a country.”

Rubio didn’t mention that he still supports the idea of a conditional path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he expressed his preference for something in the middle.

“I don’t think the American people are saying we ought to round up every single person and deport them. But you’re also not going to go around handing out citizenship cards,” he said. “That’s absurd.


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