2016 Candidates Stance on Immigration—Marco Rubio
Official Immigration Plan
Rubio outlined a three-step plan for immigration reform in his 2015 book, American Dreams: implement enforcement measures, modernize the legal immigration system, then amnesty. | Official Candidate Website
FAIR offers the following analysis on five key immigration issues: amnesty; legal immigration; border security; interior enforcement; and taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens.
Rubio was a driving force behind the Gang of Eight immigration bill that would have granted amnesty to the approximately 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. Additionally, Rubio urged the Senate to pass the 2015 DHS budget bill, even if it would fund President Obama’s executive amnesties. On the campaign trail, Rubio has maintained that he still supports amnesty, but before it can be considered, the U.S. has to “prove to people that illegal immigration is under control” by securing the border and “modernizing the legal immigration system to make it merit-based and not family based.” According to Rubio, “once both of these reforms have been passed, then I believe the conditions will be in place to address the most politically sensitive aspect of immigration reform: what to do with more than twelve million people currently here illegally.”
Rubio wants to “modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically.” According to Rubio, “that would mean reassigning existing visas away from family-based immigration and toward work- and skill-based immigration, passing reforms for high-tech visas, as well as creating a limited guest worker program for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.” While his plan does not include specifics on whether visa caps would be increased, his record indicates support of such policies. He was a main sponsor of the Gang of Eight bill that would have drastically increased foreign worker visas, and more recently, he sponsored the I-Squared Act which would quadruple H-1B visas.
The first step in Rubio’s immigration plan would be to secure “the most vulnerable and most trafficked sectors of the southern border.” To accomplish this, Rubio would, among other things: “hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, finish all 700 miles of walls on our southern border, and install $4 billion in new cameras and sensors on the border.” However, Rubio championed the Gang of Eight bill that would have significantly weakened border security, and opposed amendments to the bill that would mandate completion of a border fence.
The Rubio plan calls for increased interior enforcement, which, along with border security, would have to come before any movement to legalize illegal aliens. Rubio supports “mandatory E-Verify and the full implementation of an entry-exit tracking system.” He would also work to deport all criminal aliens and cut federal funding for sanctuary city jurisdictions.
Taxpayer Benefits to Illegal Aliens
Rubio has said that he would not reverse President Obama’s unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive amnesty, which provides certain illegal aliens with work permits, tax credits, and access to federal entitlement programs. Once the first two steps of his own plan are completed, he would allow the majority of illegal aliens to apply for a temporary nonimmigrant visa. He pledges that “to keep it, they will have to pay taxes” and “they would not qualify for government programs like Obamacare, welfare, or food stamps.” However, once nonimmigrant visa holders are allowed to apply for permanent residency, they would gain access to a host of taxpayer benefits.