Back in 2010, then-candidate for U.S. Senate Marco Rubio strongly opposed the “earned path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, a position very different from the view the Florida Republican has advanced during debates over the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill.
During a three-way senatorial debate with independent candidate Charlie Crist and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, Rubio explained his view, calling the current system “broken.”
“You have to have a legal immigration system that works,” Rubio said. “First of all, the majority of people — let’s understand why people come here even illegally. They come here for jobs. And one of the things that contributes to illegal immigration is that we have a broken legal immigration system. It’s complicated. It’s bureaucratic. It’s difficult to comply with. In Florida, for example, a large percentage of people who are in this state without documents, they entered legally. They overstayed their visas.”
But during that debate, Rubio also made some comments that are at odds with his current position. Rubio seemed to make the case for self-deportation, a position 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was ridiculed for by his opponent, President Barack Obama.
“And then I think if — and then you’ll have a legal immigration system that works. And you’ll have people in this country that are without documents that will be able to return to the — will be able to leave this country, return to their home land, and try to re-enter through our system that now functions, a system that makes sense.”
But later in that portion of the debate, Rubio varied significantly from his current position, calling the “path to citizenship” code for amnesty.