On Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC, moderator Jon Karl asked junior Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio whether or not he would support the immigration reform proposal he had been deeply involved with if did not include tougher border security elements.
Rubio refused to answer question directly, saying he would not get involved with “hypotheticals and ultimatums.”
Partial transcript is as follows:
KARL: You are the primary architect, author of the bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immigration reform. I have a basic question for you, Senator — do you support your own bill?
RUBIO: Obviously, I think it’s an excellent starting point. And I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved. This is how the legislative process is supposed to work. You offer an idea. You get public input and input of your other colleagues. From these criticisms and observations come new ideas about how to make it better. And of course, you can’t ignore that. These things need to be addressed. And we have the opportunity to do that now, in particular on the border security element. Look, the majority of Americans, the vast majority of conservative Republicans are prepared to support immigration reform, but only if we can ensure we’re not going to have another wave of illegal immigration in the future. And I think they have pointed to valid criticisms of how the border security plan is structured in the bill, and quite frankly, reasonable ways to address it.
KARL: If it stays the way it is on border security, do you vote for it?
RUBIO: I don’t want to get involved in the hypotheticals and ultimatums.
KARL: It’s a real possibility.
RUBIO: No, I don’t think it is. A bill without increased border security which everyone has now conceded needs to happen. The debate is about what that border security provision looks like. If we do that, the bill will have strong, bipartisan support. If we fail, we will keep trying. The only way to pass the immigration reform law out of the House and Senate so the president can sign it is if has real border security measures.