Sen. Marco Rubio says law-abiding illegal immigrants can stay in America, while “felons” cannot stay.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday with host Chuck Todd, Rubio said “we are not going to be able to do anything on people here illegally until we first prove to people that illegal immigration is under control and America is safe.”
Rubio said, “If circumstances change or you learn something along the way, it’s reasonable to believe say, ‘Maybe a different approach will work better.'” So for example, on immigration it is clear no comprehensive solution to immigration is going to pass.”
Taking a shot at Sen. Ted Cruz, Rubio argued, “[D]on’t go around telling everyone–like Ted Cruz does–that he is the only consistent conservative running for president. The fact of the matter is, that Ted has shown a propensity throughout his career in the U.S. Senate to take one position in front of one audience and then change his position in front of another. So he raises money in New York and then criticizes ‘New York values.'”
Rubio said Cruz “used to be in favor of legalizing people who are here illegally and he said so in front of one audience but then he puts off, portrays this is sort of notion that he’s the harshest and hardest when it comes to that issue.”
Todd then asked Rubio, “Let me ask you on the 11 million [illegal immigrants already in America], are you still for finding a way for them to legally stay in the United States?”
“Yeah, look, if you’re a criminal alien, no, you can’t stay. If you’re someone that hasn’t been here for a very long time you can’t stay. I do believe we have to have a reasonable solution,” Rubio claimed.
When asked to “define “criminal alien,” Rubio said, “A felon, someone who commits a non-immigration related [crime]” ceding to Todd that the illegal immigrant committed a felony to enter the United States illegally. Rubio said that a crime “other than the immigration law” would be grounds for deportation.
“So I do believe, I don’t think you’re going to round up and deport 12 million people… it is very clear now more than ever that we are not going to be able to do anything on people here illegally until we first prove to people that illegal immigration is under control and America is safe. And ISIS poses a very unique threat, unlike anything we have faced in the past,” Rubio argued.