Rubio: Immigration Stance ‘A Factor’ in GOP Struggles With Hispanics

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that the GOP’s immigration stance is “a factor” in the party’s struggle to attract Hispanic voters but is not “the determinative” factor and that immigration policies shouldn’t be based on politics in an interview broadcast on Monday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.

When Rubio was asked if the GOP’s immigration stance was a factor in the GOP’s struggles to attract Hispanic voters, he responded that it was “a factor. I wouldn’t say it’s the determinative factor, it’s a factor, but ultimately, that goes back to our national security issues. Our immigration policies in  this country should not be built on politics. They should be built on what’s good for America. But I do think that the bigger issue is that you have millions of Americans who are struggling and have been convinced by both mass media and the Democrats on the left that the Republican Party doesn’t understand or care about people like them, that we’re only here to fight on behalf of the people who are trying to make it, and we need to do a better job of explaining, not only is that not true, but the direct opposite is true. Big government helps the politically connected” he stated.

Regarding the specifics of immigration policy, Rubio said that he would not be open to deporting every illegal immigrant in the country and “no one is calling for that.”

Rubio also argued that his immigration position wouldn’t hurt him with GOP voters. He concluded, “there are some people that are extremely frustrated by — they feel they’ve been lied to about immigration over the last two decades, and are frustrated by it. But, I think the vast majority of people, in America and in the conservative movement understand that we have to address the mistakes that were made in the past that have left us with 12 million people illegally here, but they’re not prepared to have that conversation, until first they see, not that they’re told, that they see, that immigration laws are going to be enforced, and if they believe and if they see that future illegal immigration is going to be under control, then I think they’re willing to have a very serious conversation about what do you do with the people that are here illegally for a long time, but have not otherwise violated our laws, and how do we reform our legal immigration system so that it’s merit-based, not simply family-based. But, I’ve learned over the last year that you’re not going to be able to have that conversation until you first show people, not tell people, show people, that illegal immigration in the future will be under control.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett