Tags: CPAC | CPAC 2015 | Marco Rubio | rubio | cpac | immigration | presidency

Rubio: Immigration Can't Be Based on Family Already Here

By    |   Friday, 27 February 2015 10:22 AM

It's possible to bring future illegal immigration issues under control, Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday, but the policy can't continued to be "based on family alone."

"A million people come here legally every year, but it’s all based on whether you have a family member here. And it can’t continue to be based on family alone. It has to be based on some sort of merit or economic contribution," said the Florida Republican, speaking during day two of the Conservative Political Action Conference

Rubio said he gets that there are some 10 million to 12 million people who have lived here, "some for longer than a decade, who have not broken any immigration laws ... But what I’ve learned is that you can’t even have a conversation about that until people believe and know — not believe, but know — that future illegal immigration can be controlled and brought under control."

Rubio, himself the son of Cuban immigrants, also made the argument that the nation's borders need to be better secured.

The Florida senator and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate outlined his overall immigration plan in his new book, "American Dreams," earlier this year, proposing a three-step plan that upgrades enforcement measures; switches from a "family-based" immigration policy to a "work-and-skill-based" system, with more visas for those with high-tech skills and a guest worker program; and deals with the millions of illegal aliens already in the country.

Rubio, making his fifth appearance at the annual conservative conference, also talked about the upcoming presidential election, telling the audience that no matter who they pick in their straw poll this weekend, candidates will need to decide what kind of country the United States should be, and remember that the nation is exceptional.

"When was the last time you heard about a boatload of American refugees arriving on the shores of another country?" he said.

To keep the nation moving forward, Rubio also said there needs to be emphasis placed on educating students with the goal of getting them into the workforce, repealing Obamacare and making the military strong again.

"Imagine if we had a commander in chief who understood that the way to defeat ISIS is not to find them a job," Rubio said. "Imagine if we had a president who didn’t travel the world bad-mouthing Americans. After all, that’s the U.N.’s job."

Rubio said that he owes America a debt that he would "never be able to repay," citing his parents and how they were able to achieve the American dream for him and his siblings.

But there was one surprise admission from the Florida lawmaker: although he is politics now, he doesn't want to stay there his whole life.

He told Fox News host Sean Hannity, who conducted a question-and-answer session after the speech, that he wants to "serve my country and do other things" beyond having a career in Washington, D.C.

But he also neatly bypassed Hannity's question about his presidential aspirations, saying that he wasn't going to make an announcement then and there.

While he's in the game, though, he wants to make a difference for America's next generation.

"I don’t want my kids to grow up one day and ask me, how come you got to grow up in the greatest country in the world, but we get to live in country that's diminished?" he said.

Part of why America is exceptional, Rubio said, is because in other societies, a person's future is determined by the position their parents held before them.

"The fact that the son of a bartender and a hotel maid is sitting a stage with you today ... that's why America is exceptional," he said.

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It's possible to bring future illegal immigration under control, Sen. Marco Rubio told a CPAC audience Friday, but the policy can't continued to be "based on family alone."
rubio, cpac, immigration, presidency
Friday, 27 February 2015 10:22 AM
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