Tags: Immigration | Marco Rubio | rubio | obama | immigration | reform | executive

Rubio: Obama Could Legalize Millions by Executive Order

By Bill Hoffmann and Todd Beamon   |   Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 03:51 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama might be "tempted" to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants if Congress did not pass a comprehensive reform bill within the next year.

"I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order like he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen," the Florida Republican said on "The Morning Show with Preston Scott" on Tallahassee radio station WFLA.

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"Now, we won't get an E-Verify, we won’t get any border security. But he'll legalize them," Rubio said.

Citing last year's move to allow many immigrants brought here illegally as children to remain in the country legally, Rubio said delays on Capitol Hill could force Obama to grant the mass legalization.

And it would be done without any of the reforms included in the bipartisan Gang of Eight's immigration reform bill that the Senate passed in June.

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"It only gets worse as time goes on," said Rubio, a Gang of Eight member in the Senate.

"Unless we’re going to try to round up and deport 11 million people, something that not even the most vociferous opponent of the bill proposed, then we are going to have to at some point address this issue."

The Senate bill passed on a 68-32 vote that was backed by 14 Republicans. It includes provisions for a pathway to citizenship and increased border security.

The vote sent the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.

But the GOP-controlled House has said that it will not vote on such a huge Senate bill, opting instead to address immigration reform through individual bills.

And House Speaker John Boehner, who vowed that the lower chamber would not take an "Obamacare-like" approach to immigration reform, has pledged to not bring any such legislation to the floor for a vote unless it has the support of most of his party's members.

Republicans have consistently attacked the Senate bill, saying it amounts to little more than amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants and that it does little to strengthen the nation's borders.

Rubio told Scott that if Obama acted, the nation would miss out on the Senate bill’s technological advances along the Mexican border, drones, cameras, and more Border Patrol agents.

Under the bill, undocumented immigrants who were in the United States before Dec. 31, 2011, can apply for "provisional" resident status and eventually have the option of following a 13-year plan to become legal citizens.

But Scott told Rubio that he received many emails during the show from listeners critical of the senator's work on immigration reform. Many of his listeners asked why the laws on the books now can't be enforced more strongly.

Rubio responded that the current laws are outdated, with little incentive for installation of a national employment E-Verify system and weakened border-security laws.

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"We can’t leave, in my mind, the way it is," Rubio told Scott. "Because I think a year from now we could find ourselves with all 11 million people here legally under an executive order from the president, but no E-Verify, no more border security, no more border agents, none of the other reforms that we desperately need."

Rubio is spending the first week of the Senate's summer break on a tour of his home state of Florida to increase public support for his plan to defund Obamacare.

On Monday, the Republican lawmaker spoke to the Rotary Club chapter in Jacksonville, Tampabay.com reports.

He later spoke at his alma mater, the University of Florida, and then addressed the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce.

On Tuesday, Rubio was to bring his anti-Obamacare message to Panama City.

And on Wednesday, he was scheduled to speak with small-business owners in Pensacola.

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