Transcript: Sen. Marco Rubio’s remarks on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform proposal

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Partial transcript of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) statement on the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform proposal at a press conference on Jan. 28, 2013: 

…I am clearly new to this issue in terms of the Senate; I’m not new in terms of my life. I live surrounded by immigrants. My neighbors are immigrants; my family’s immigrants; married into a family of immigrants. I see immigration every single day. I see the good of immigration. I see how important it is for our future.

And as most Americans, I recognize how critical an immigration system that works has been for our heritage as it is for our future.

By the same token, I see the negative that illegal immigration has been for our country and the problems that it causes.

And the reality of it is these are issues the vast majority of Americans agree with as well. The vast majority of Americans believe that we need to have a legal immigration system that works, and they recognize what we have now is not a 21st century legal immigration system.

And that’s why I’m so pleased that the first principle in this effort is one, to modernize our legal immigration system so that it reflects the reality and the needs of the 21st century.

By the same token, we recognize that America is a sovereign country that has a right to have immigration laws and has a right to reform them. And that’s why I’m pleased that these principles outlined not just a need to enforce our immigration laws but to do so in the future in a way that ensures we’re never here again with the situation that we face today.

But none of this is possible if we don’t address the reality that there are 11 million human beings in this country today that are undocumented. That’s not something anyone is happy about. That’s not something anyone wanted to see happen. But it is what has happened, and we have an obligation and the need to address the reality of the situation that we face and address it in a way that is fair to the people that are doing it the right way and that’s the hundreds of people that come to our office every year whose relatives from all around Latin America and the world are waiting in line to legally come here. We have to be fair to them.

We also have to ensure that we don’t do anything that encourages people to come here illegally in the future.

But by the same token, we are dealing with 11 million human beings who are here undocumented, the vast majority of whom have come here in pursuit of what all of us here recognize as the American dream. And that’s what we endeavor to move forward here on.

Let me just say that on both sides of this issue there are legitimate points to be raised. There are people concerned about how much this is going to cost the American economy. We have to be frank about dealing with those issues. This country owes $16 trillion.

By the same token, we need to be honest with ourselves about how important immigration is for our economy, for agriculture, for guest workers and other laborers, and for those who are already here now that are making contributions toward our future.

I think today’s an important first step in what’s going to be a significant and complicated journey because the issue of immigration is not a simple one but I think we have the opportunity to do it right, and if we do I think we’ll do a tremendous service to our country and to its future.

[Remarks in Spanish]


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3 Comments on “Transcript: Sen. Marco Rubio’s remarks on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform proposal

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