Sen. Marco Rubio discusses immigration reform in Las Vegas
The issue of immigration reform is front and center, as the country continues to learn more about the two immigrant Chechen brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombings.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The issue of immigration reform is front and center, as the country continues to learn more about the two immigrant Chechen brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a republican Florida lawmaker, met with media on Saturday to speak on behalf of the immigration reform plan introduced in the senate this week.
But questions quickly turned to Boston and whether legalizing immigration is the right direction to take.
Sen. Rubio came to Las Vegas to stump his new bipartisan bill, but he first addressed the two immigrants allegedly behind the Boston bombings.
"First of all, we need to learn everything we can about Boston. We just don't know everything yet, so we shouldn't jump to conclusions," said Sen. Rubio.
He said any lessons to be learned from Boston should immediately be applied to any immigration laws, "These two criminals entered the U.S. under the existing legal immigration system. One we have right now, the one that will stay in place if we do absolutely nothing about immigration."
It's the biggest change to the law in 27 years. If passed, it would put 11 million illegal immigrants on a 13-year path to citizenship for those in the U.S. before 2011, and add billions of dollars to secure the Mexican border.
At a community round-table earlier this week, critics said the path may take too long, "That's a long time to be in citizenship limbo. But it's a price people will pay because everyone wants a piece of the American dream."
Sen. Rubio said he understands the immigration problem in Las Vegas, having once lived here in the Valley. He said his immigration reform bill would be a positive change for Nevada.
"You will now have people paying taxes, legalizing the workplace business, confident that they're legally here."
He also said, "What we have today in place is not good for anyone. Certainly isn't good for Nevada. If we can bring these folks out of the shadows in a way that's fair to those who are doing it the right way, that has real consequences for violating the law, that doesn't give them access to our federal benefits and ensures that his never happens again."
Sen. Rubio said he expects a tough fight to get immigration reform passed this year, and admits it's not an ideal plan but it's an enforceable one.