Senator Marco Rubio, the GOP’s rising Latino superstar, says the Republican Party must revamp and improve its stance on illegal immigration in order to boost its Hispanic voting base.
"It's really hard to get people to listen to you … if they think you want to deport their grandmother," the charismatic Florida lawmaker told the Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in Washington D.C.
"You can be for legal immigration. You don't have to be for amnesty, but you also have to realize that these people are human beings."
Rubio’s plea to the GOP comes a week after President Barack Obama soundly defeated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, with 71 percent of Hispanic voters supporting him.
He said he is moving ahead with legislation that would help undocumented immigrants who moved to the United States as children.
“Time is of the essence for them,’’ Rubio noted.
As to the issue of giving 11 million undocumented immigrants legal rights, Rubio said any reforms will have to address the “supply and demand’’ problem for employment-based immigration in the future.
“The reason three million people became 11 million people is . . . they didn’t do a good job of fixing the immigration system going forward,’’ he said.
Rubio told The Hill
he was encouraged that an immigration deal can be worked out next year.
Meanwhile, Rubio has broken from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on whether Susan Rice's remarks about the Benghazi attack disqualify the United Nations ambassador from heading the State Department.
Rice has come under fire for comments she made following the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, initially blaming the cause on a mob incited by an anti-Muslim video.
The bloody September 11th violence was later categorized as a terrorist attack.
"I think if you're going to have a fair process to evaluate someone, you can't go in having already made up your mind," he told the forum.
"If Ambassador Rice is nominated we're going to have hearings, we're going to have meetings.
"I think Benghazi will come up. What's very clear is the Sunday after that incident in Benghazi she went on five shows and said that this attack was not terrorist related."
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