Transcript: Sen. Marco Rubio on the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”. The press briefing was held on April 18, 2013:

Actually, I changed my mind. No, I’m kidding.
[Laughter] It’s been fun.

You know, one of the things that makes our nation truly special and different from the rest of the world is that we’re a nation of immigrants. And I know that’s over-said many times but it can’t be said enough.

What distinguishes us from the rest of the world is we literally are a collection of the world’s best and brightest – not necessarily the world’s richest or the world’s most connected or the world’s most powerful but simply people who refuse to accept the constricts and the limitations of the society in which they lived. Because they believe they were destined for more and it was really only one nation on Earth that would give them the chance to do that. And so people have come here – millions of people – over 200 years and together worked to build the single greatest society and country in the history of our mankind.

Now, like every sovereign nation, we have immigration laws and immigration laws need to be followed. And unfortunately both Republicans and Democrats have failed to enforce those laws. And the result is we have millions of human beings here today who are in violation of our immigration laws.

Now, it’s a problem that we have to solve and it’s made worse by the fact that in addition to that we have a broken legal immigration system. It’s cumbersome. It’s complicated. It’s bureaucratic. And it does not reflect the needs of the 21st century.

And that’s what this effort’s all about.

First and foremost, it’s about modernizing our legal immigration system. It’s about helping to attract the world’s best and brightest and to keep the world’s best and brightest talent. It’s about ensuring that agriculture has the workers they need. It’s about ensuring that American businesses – not at the expense of the American worker – but American businesses have access to temporary or seasonal labor as needed.

But it’s also about enforcing our immigration laws. It’s about ensuring the federal government once and for all does what it’s supposed to do in a way that’s effective and ensures that we never have this problem again. And that’s why we say the federal government has to secure its border and if it fails, then the states most affected by it will take care of it for them.

That’s why we set up a universal E-verify system to ensure the American worker’s not disadvantaged and to ensure in fact that the magnet of illegal employment is not drawing people here illegally in the future.

It’s why we advocate for the existence and creation of the entry-exit system because 40% of our illegal immigration problem is visa overstays not people who’ve entered illegally.

And finally, we have to deal with the reality – not the theory, not the perception – but the reality that there are millions of people living in this country today in violation of our immigration laws. Yes, they did violate our immigration laws and they do not have a legal right to be here. No one has a legal right to illegally immigrate to the United States.

But we’re dealing with this not because we legally have to but because number one, it is in our national interest as a nation. It is not good for this country to have millions of people living in shadows.

And number two, we’re dealing with this issue because this is who we are. We are the most compassionate nation on Earth. We are the people that have welcomed people from all over the world for over 200 years in a way that other countries rejected because they were scared of it; not us, we embraced it. And because we did those immigrants – each of us, the direct descendants of immigrants – have created here the single greatest society man has ever known. This is who we are. We are the descendants of the homeless…the tired, the poor, the huddled masses that are yearning to breathe free.

I guess at the end I would just say that this is our common heritage, and it’s tragic that a nation of immigrants remains divided on the issue of immigration. This must once again become our strength and I believe that through this effort, we can make that happen.

Let me close with one final point to my fellow Americans who share my commitment to limited government, free enterprise, who helped elect me in 2010. I would just remind them America is a nation of immigrants but both Republicans and Democrats have failed to enforce the law and the result is we do have millions of people who are here against our immigration laws. But we’re not going to deport them. So let’s secure the border. Let’s bring these people out of the shadows. They’ll undergo a background check. They’ll pay a fine. They’ll start paying taxes. They won’t qualify for federal benefits.

We all wish we didn’t have this problem but we do and we have to fix it because leaving things the way they are – that’s the real amnesty.

Remarks in Spanish.

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3 Comments on “Transcript: Sen. Marco Rubio on the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill

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