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WASHINGTON – In an apparent departure from his 2010 campaign position, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says he hopes that in the next two years the discussion about immigration reform can lead to establishing a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens.
Rubio discussed the issue and others at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast interview Wednesday morning, hosted by Politico White House chief correspondent Mike Allen.
“I think it needs to be dealt with comprehensively,” the senator said, adding he thinks there is a good possibility of forming a consensus with Democrats for a federal e-verify system and enhanced border security.
He said if Republicans can address these two issues, voters will take note, and it will give confidence to the American people that the problem of illegal immigration can be resolved.
He also said he thinks Republicans can build a strong consensus with agricultural workers on the need for a functioning guest worker program.
He made reference to his support for a new and reformed DREAM Act, supported by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, saying, “We need to have a DREAM Act that allows us to accommodate these kids [of illegal aliens].”
Rubio also has been critical of the Arizona’s immigration reform bill S.B. 1070, describing it as being comparable to “a police state.”
The comments suggest an about-turn from 2009 and 2010 when then Senate-candidate Marco Rubio decried amnesty “in any form” for illegal immigrants. He was strongly critical of his then-opponent, Charlie Crist, for taking pro-amnesty positions.
Only over the last year has Rubio expressed the changed positions and, as reported by USA Today, recently has called on Republicans to “work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to [minorities].”
Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, in an interview with WND, said that Rubio is simply “following the crowd” and that if by supporting amnesty he and the GOP think they can get a larger percentage of votes from Hispanics, “they are going to get a rude awakening.”
Bob Dane, the communications director at Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, also spoke out in an interview with WND on Rubio’s statements and the growing, pro-amnesty position of the GOP.
“The post-election hamming of the GOP has led them to the fastest, most knee-jerk reaction we have ever seen. The Republicans are trying to figure out why they got clobbered by the Latino voters. We are going to see a protracted amnesty battle in the spring,” he said.
“The problem here is not Latino voters. The Republicans need to fix an immigration system that is importing massive levels of poverty,” he said.
Dane suggested: “The Republicans need to do two things. Firstly, reduce immigration overall.”
Immigration policy, he said, needs to reflect admission to the United States based on skills.
“By way of these reforms, they can sell it as a genuine way to increase immigrants status,” he said.
Dane gave a dire warning to the GOP.
“The Republicans need to face the very real possibility … that if an amnesty bill passes the Democrats will rule in perpetuity,” he said. “We’re at the tipping point where immigration favors Democrats more now than ever before.”
Tancredo echoed a very similar point by stating that if the Republican Party allows amnesty to go through, it will “absolutely” be “another major nail in the coffin of the Republican Party.”
“The only thing the Republican Party will be doing is creating a larger Democrat voting base,” he said.