Rubio on Immigration: 'Americans Want Proof That We're Enforcing the Laws'
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been at the forefront of the efforts in Congress to pass immigration reform.
In announcing his presidential candidacy, he explained that he supports a path to citizenship for some of the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.
The 2016 candidate was asked on "Outnumbered" today about a new report detailing the criminal illegal immigrants released by DHS last year at the government's own discretion.
The Washington Times reported:
Some of those released were the worst of the worst — more than 3,700 “Threat Level 1” criminals, who are deemed the top priority for deportation, were still released out into the community even as they waited for their immigration cases to be heard.
Homeland Security officials have implied their hands are tied by court rulings in many cases, but the numbers, obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, showed 57 percent of the criminals released were by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own choice, and they could have been kept instead.
Rubio responded by saying that reports like this are exactly the reason why Americans don't trust politicians to fix the immigration system.
"People say, 'we don't want you tell us you're going to enforce the law, you have to prove it to us.' And if you prove to us that illegal immigration is under control and being addressed, then we'll [talk about] a reasonable, honest solution for the rest of it," he said.
Rubio said these individuals violated the law, but were probably released because of "political pressure."
He said illegal immigrants who are accused of crimes often never show up for their court dates after they are released.
Sandra Smith asked Rubio how his immigration plan compares to other candidates, like Hillary Clinton.
Rubio said he's never heard any plan from Clinton on how to deal with illegal immigration.
He said to fix the problems, it's going to take a series of bills, not one massive piece of legislation.
For an illegal immigrant to get a work permit and then eventual legal status, he said there must be a "consequence," like a fine, in addition to paying taxes and undergoing a background check.
Watch the full discussion above.