Sen. Marco Rubio said the DREAM Act creates “a special pathway to citizenship,” while awarding nonimmigrant visas to college students in the country illegally — a plan he supports — does not.
“The way the DREAM Act would circumvent the existing immigration system is it would create a special category that allows you to get into the immigration process,” Rubio said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“All this does is award a nonimmigrant visa to these kids who find themselves in this very difficult circumstance. At some point in the future, they would have no more or no less rights than anybody else in the world. They wouldn’t be getting any preferential treatment.”
Rubio, who’s of Cuban descent, said he is onboard with presidential contender Mitt Romney’s stance on illegal immigration despite the Florida Republican’s position on students who face deportation.
“This notion that somehow, in order to appeal to Hispanic voters, you have to support illegal immigration, it’s just not true,” Rubio said. “Here’s been my suggestion: Other than only just talking about what we’re against, you have to talk about what you’re for. The Republican Party is, and must become and continue to be, the pro-legal immigration party. We have to make very clear we support legal immigration. The vast majority of Americans of Hispanic descent are legally here.”
He said the No. 1 issue in the Hispanic community is economic empowerment, and the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is a “serious endeavor to deal with the pressing issues of our country.”
The Ryan budget has been criticized for its proposed cuts to entitlement and assistance programs, namely Medicare. Rubio made clear to CNN host Candy Crowley his thoughts about the government’s healthcare plan for seniors.
“I will never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt people like my mother, who is on Medicare today,” he said. “I think we always have to be careful about impacting our safety net because I think there’s a proper role for a governmental safety net to help those who cannot help themselves.”
On the issue of his being tapped by Romney as vice president, Rubio neither confirmed nor denied his interest.
“I’m not going to even discuss the process anymore,” he said. “I’m going to be respectful of the process he’s [Romney’s] put in place.”
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