Rubio Refuses To Say Whether He Supports His Own Immigration Bill

(Credit: Brooks Kraft/Corbis)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL), the architect of a comprehensive immigration bill that would legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants, refused to say on Sunday whether he supports the legislation he helped draft. He instead claimed that the measure does not have strong border enforcement provisions and would not receive bipartisan support.

In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Rubio told the guest host Jonathan Karl that public input indicated the need to create border enforcement provisions to prevent “another wave of illegal immigration in the future.”

JONATHAN KARL: You are one the primary architect authors of the bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immigration reform. I have a basic question, do you support your own bill?

RUBIO: I think it’s an excellent starting point. I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved. […]

KARL: If it stays the way it is on border security, do you vote for it?

RUBIO: I don’t want to get involved in the hypotheticals and ultimatums.

KARL: It’s a real possibility.

RUBIO: No, I don’t think it is. A bill without increased border security which everyone has now conceded needs to happen. The debate is about what that border security provision looks like. If we do that, the bill will have strong, bipartisan support. If we fail, we will keep trying. The only way to pass the immigration reform law out of the House and Senate so the President can sign it is if has real border security measures.

Rubio has touted that the comprehensive immigration reform bill he helped to create is “the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States.” Yet even though the Senate Judiciary Committee already approved tougher border security provisions that would track immigrants and restrict criminals from entering the country, Rubio has moved further and further away from his bill, indicating that he would support an amendment drafted by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that would re-write and significantly strengthen the border security provisions. Activists worry that the benchmarks in the Cornyn measure are unrealistic and would delay that pathway to citizenship.

The vast majority of Americans, including 81 percent of Latino voters polled for a Latino Decisions survey, indicate that they would prefer a reform bill that includes both border security and legalization measures.