Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on Sunday that lawmakers needed to beef up the border-security portions of a Senate immigration bill but that most of the blueprint should obtain bipartisan support.
“I think it’s an excellent starting point,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week” about the immigration bill being debated in the Senate. “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.”
However, Democrats are unlikely to sign off on any border-security provisions that precede a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants, which would put Rubio in the awkward position of potentially voting against his own bill.
When asked if he would support the legislation without changes, Rubio replied, “I don’t really want to get involved in these hypotheticals and ultimatums about what I want.”
Without enhancing border security, however, Rubio said the bill would have no chance of passing the GOP-controlled House.
And he said that Americans were clamoring for an immigration fix.
“I don’t focus a lot on public polling, but if you look at these public polls, it’s clear the vast majority of Americans understand that what we have in place in this country is de-facto amnesty, a broken legal immigration system that needs to be reformed,” he said.
But GOP critics accused supporters of the Gang of Eight immigration plan of misleading the public.
“It weakens current law, undermines future enforcement and puts amnesty — not enforcement — first,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. “So new promises of amendment ‘fixes’ to save the bill should be viewed with great skepticism: Every time, on every issue, the promises have not matched with reality.”