The Palm Beach Post reports that former Florida House Speaker and Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio took issue with President Ronald Reagan’s immigration platform at a Martin County Republican Womens Federated meeting today. The Post reports that Rubio “delivered a six-minute discourse on immigration policy” in which he slammed Reagan’s support of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which put undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization and made it illegal to knowingly hire unauthorized workers:
In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people. You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process. [...]
Only after you deal with illegal immigration in a serious way — seal the border and the visa problem — can you then create a legal immigration system that works.
Rubio later conceded that “he [Reagan] did it for the right reasons, but I think it ended up working the wrong way.” Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is staunchly opposed to any effort to fix the immigration status of undocumented immigrants and proposes solving the problem “dramatically by attrition.” The Miami New Times points out that he was 15 years-old when IRCA was signed into law.