Sen. Marco Rubio insisted on Sunday that the immigration plan currently being negotiated by the "Gang of 8" won't give illegal immigrants anything other than the chance to access the legal immigration system, but will make the border more secure than it’s ever been.
“We are going to get the toughest enforcement measures in the history of this country,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Florida Republican, who appeared on five news shows Sunday, says "there will be consequences for having violated the laws."
He said that some illegal immigrants will not qualify if they have not been in the country long enough, or if they've committed a serious crime.
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"All people will get is the opportunity to apply for a legal status, which isn’t awarded on day one. There’s a process for that," he said. "You’ll have to pay an application fee and a fine. And you’re going to have to stay in that status while you pay taxes and prove you are not a public charge."
Rubio, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said senators have agreed on having a system that lets employers confirm if a person is eligible to work.
“You will not be able to find a job in the United States if you are illegally here,” Rubio said.
He dismissed criticism by some of his Senate colleagues that the measure provides a shortcut for illegal immigrants.
"The alternative we’ve created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate," according to Rubio. "It will actually be cheaper if they went back home, waited 10 years and applied for a green card."
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, also appearing "This Week" said that "every significant disagreement" among the Gang of 8 has been addressed, including the thorny issue of farm labor.
"I expect that the eight of us will introduce a bill on Tuesday," he said. "I think you’ll see a major agreement that’s balanced, that‘s fair, that will have the widespread support of the American people on Tuesday."
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Rubio pointed to the promise of a better life outside of the shadows, when pressed by host Candy Crowley as to what incentive would exist for illegal immigrants to take advantage of such an onerous system.
"Life is not okay right now for them because they are living in the shadows," he said. "They have to hide. They have to lie. They're worried about getting pulled over and deported because they don't have a driver's license. You're going to have a legal status to work in the U.S., to pay your taxes, and to travel to visit your family."
Rubio also said on Sunday that he opposes a Senate compromise that would impose more extensive background checks on gun purchasers, saying it would infringe on constitutional rights. He called for more effective enforcement of existing laws.
Bloomberg News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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