Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is fine tuning his stance on immigration reform in a more conservative direction emphasizing border security in anticipation of a possible 2016 presidential bid, The Hill
The immigration overhaul bill passed by the Senate in June 2013 — and championed by Rubio — did entail enhanced border security as a prerequisite for moving forward on a pathway to citizenship. He told Breitbart News
that it was "abundantly clear" that "people don't want to talk about what to do with those who are here illegally" until they see movement on a more secure border.
Another indicator that Rubio is changing emphasis on immigration is his call on the Obama administration to end the Dreamers program that would allow certain young illegal immigrants to stay in the country, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Rubio was not altering his policy only how to achieve it, spokesman Alex Conant said.
The senator said he now realizes that "incredible distrust of the federal government" requires tangible border security measures be in place before immigration reform can move ahead, according to the Hill.
Conservatives had been critical of Rubio's immigration reform posture which cost him popularity in presidential straw polls. He dropped from a No. 2 position to No. 7 at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, the Hill reported.
Conservatives wearily welcomed Rubio's shift. Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said he was encouraged that the senator was now aligned with "where conservatives tried to take the debate." Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, said he was pleased that Rubio was moving in a "no amnesty" direction. At the same time, "it's hard not to feel pretty irritated with him for being the guy that really caused the Senate to pass that bill," said Beck. "I mean he was the main guy," the Hill reported.
Conant said, "The senator was well aware of the political risks of this issue when he took it on a year and a half ago. He remains committed to reform and makes no apologies," according to the Hill.
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