Rubio: “There will have to be improvements. … If we can make sure we put in place enforcement mechanisms and a guest worker program that ensures this will never happen again in the future, we’re going to have responsible immigration reform.”
“And if we don’t have that then we won’t have immigration reform, and I think our country will suffer for it.”
Washington, D.C. – As the Senate prepares for a June floor debate on S.744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) continues to work with his colleagues to fix our immigration system, strengthen our borders, and end de facto amnesty. Rubio used this week’s second installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series to address questions from his constituents about how to fix America’s broken immigration system.
In a letter, Lynn from Wesley Chapel shared her concerns about the unintended consequences of a large immigration reform bill and called for pilot programs and smaller pieces of legislation instead. Watch Rubio’s video response above and read his response below:
Senator Marco Rubio: “Lynn, that’s an excellent question. That is exactly the issue we are grapplingwith. First, I say you make a very compelling argument for repealing ObamaCare because, in fact, ObamaCare is an impediment to hiring. And the fact that people are thinking the way you are proves it. The fact of the matter is that ObamaCare will keep people from being hired. The problem we are balancing that against is that these folks have violated the laws of the United States, our immigration laws, and it isn’t fair or right for them to benefit from a government subsidy like ObamaCare. It will drive up the cost of this bill tremendously, in essence be unsustainable. And it isn’t fair either. So we cannot allow them to have access to ObamaCare benefits while they are here on their probationary and provisional status. The other reason why is because we want to make sure people that are being legalized in this country can sustain themselves. The last thing we want to do is legalize 11 million people and have a significant percentage of them be dependent on government. It’s not that we are not compassionate. It’s that we cannot afford it, it isn’t responsible, and it isn’t fair to the people that did it the right way. As far as the complex piece of legislation, that’s always been my initial preference: to do it in separate pieces of legislation so we can keep them from being traded against each other. In essence, so we can avoid a deal where they say to us, ‘We agree to more border security if you water down the guest-worker program or vice versa’. I don’t want that to happen and so far it has not.
“The problem with immigration though is that it is complex because it is all interwoven. It’s all related to each other. It’s literally impossible to do one part without doing the other. Let me give you an example. You can do border security, you can build fences, and we should. You should hire more border patrol agents, and we should. You should improve technology, and we should. But that alone is not enough because the magnet of employment is still in place. If we don’t have an E-Verify system for workers in America, for every single employer in America, people are still going to try to come. They are going to try to come for those jobs. That’s why you have to do E-Verify and border security, but even those two things are not enough. You also need to relate it to a guest-worker program. Why? Because our economy does need temporary workers in certain sectors like agriculture. And if you do not find a legal way for people to come here and be able to do that, then they will come illegally to do that, and so that’s why you also need a guest-worker program.
“Related to all of that, of course, are the other issues involved in immigration reform. For example, the 11 million that are here now. You can only imagine, if we implement universal E-Verify – meaning no one can work in America unless they have legal documentation, but you have 11 million people sitting there that one day we intend to get to but not now, who are not legalized – none of those 11 million will be able to work anymore. So now you’re going to have a very serious problem in our society – a bunch of people in America that want to work, can work, but cannot because of E-Verify. So it’s better to understand who they are and legalize them now so they can start paying their taxes, and start proving who they are and what they’re here for. In addition to all of that, we want to freeze the problem that we have in place right now. Right now it’s 11 million, we think it’s about 11 million people – not all of them are going to qualify for this, by the way – but we think we can get them to come forward, learn English, pay a fine, start paying taxes, undergo background checks for national security and criminality. We can understand who the problem is and freeze it in place. If we wait to do it in the future, that 11 million, that number could grow. And it will be harder and harder to sift out those who have been here long enough to qualify and those who do not.
“So what I have found is that all of these issues are inter-related. You can’t deal with one without dealing with the other, otherwise it doesn’t work. And that’s why it’s so complex because the issue is complex. But I give you my word, that if this issue becomes one of those old-fashioned Washington issues where they start horse trading, one part of it for another part of it. If each of these are not dealt with as separate issues even though they are dealt with in one bill, then I won’t be able to support that anymore. I made that very clear from the beginning, and I continue to make that clear now. And that’s why I continue to ask for an open, transparent and extensive process. So the American people can know exactly what it is we’re doing, so that all views can be considered and heard, and so improvements can be made to this legislation. And let me tell you, there will have to be improvements. Because the good thing is the American people, the vast majority of them throughout the political spectrum, have clearly said that they are prepared to responsibly deal with those that are here illegally, but they are only willing to do so if we can take measures that ensure that this problem will never happen again in the future. And so, if we can make sure we put in place enforcement mechanisms and a guest worker program that ensures this will never happen again in the future, we’re going to have responsible immigration reform. And if we don’t have that then we won’t have immigration reform, and I think our country will suffer for it.”