Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday that he is indebted to America for welcoming his Cuban immigrant parents, while he continued to back away from his 2013 legislation that would have allowed illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
Mr. Rubio, a likely presidential contender, was a major sponsor of a bill that was cast by conservatives as bestowing amnesty on law-breaking immigrants. “It wasn’t very popular. I don’t know if you know that from some of the folks here,” he quipped to an audience of hundreds of activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The bill’s critics were proven right, Mr. Rubio said, by what he described as President Barack Obama’s failure to enforce border security. He said immigration legislation is still necessary, not to integrate undocumented workers into society, as some say, but to make sure employers can’t hire illegal immigrants. Mr. Rubio also condemned President Obama’s executive order shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation as unconstitutional.