Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., defended Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration Thursday as the GOP presidential nominee-to-be delivered a speech touching on the issue to top Hispanic politicians in Florida.
In a breakfast with reporters, Rubio pointed out that immigration is a tricky subject that isn’t “easily solved in campaign talking points,” Politico
reports. Romney has adopted “solid” principles on immigration, the freshman senator said.
“I think Gov. Romney’s principles on immigration are pretty straightforward and pretty much in line with the majority of Americans, which is that he understands immigration is important for our country. And he understands that our legal immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.”
In his speech, Romney said, “Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well,” The New York Times reports. “We can find common ground here, and we must. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to ensure that our country remains a land of opportunity — both for those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws, and want to come to our shores.”
Rubio defended Romney’s comment from one of the presidential primary debates, in which he said would encourage “self-deportation” for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants.
That statement doesn’t represent policy, but instead an “observation of what people will do in a country that is enforcing its immigration laws,” Rubio said.
To be sure, the GOP still has work to do on the issue, the Cuban-American senator said. “What the Republican Party has to do a better job of . . . is discussing how the Republican Party is not just the anti-illegal immigration party, it is the pro-legal immigration party.”
Possibilities there include support for a functional guest worker program, simplifying the visa process for high-technology workers, and helping children whose parents took them here illegally, Rubio said.
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