Sen. Marco Rubio stayed away from specific immigration reform policies during a talk Thursday, reiterating that America must be recognized as an exemplary nation that welcomes those seeking freedom they don’t have in their home countries.
“What we have is special,” Rubio said. “Every single human life is worthy of the protection of our values. Who else will do it if not us?”
The Florida Republican also appealed to America’s religious heritage, asserting that as the “salt of the earth,” the United States has a duty to be compassionate to the less-fortunate.
Rubio recently took heat for switching his focus from border security to legalization. In a Spanish interview with Univision last weekend, Rubio laid out his modified plan for immigration reform.
“First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border,” Rubio said. “And then comes the process of permanent residence.”
Rubio explained the reasoning behind his shifting stance in a Wednesday radio interview with Sean Hannity.
“When I initially got involved in this effort in December of last year, I initially said let’s make sure everything, including that first step, is conditioned on the border and all these other things,” Rubio said. “Here’s the problem with that: Let’s say that it takes four years to do the border plan. What do we do with the millions of people that are here illegally in the meantime? Do we just ignore them?”
Many Republican members of Congress, including Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, are unwilling to vote in favor of the bill unless border security measures are addressed.
“I’m not yet ready to vote on the Senate bill unless they’re ready to listen to those that say, ‘Let’s make the border secure,’” Paul said.