If you want details about a presidential candidate’s immigration plan a great place to find them is the Spanish-language network. Enfoque, a current affairs talk show on Telemundo, has been conducting hot-seat interviews with the candidates focusing on the pressing questions, What will you do for Latinos? Why should we vote for you? Al Punto, a news program with Univision is also conducting interviews with the candidates on immigration reform.
This past April, Senator Marco Rubio met with Jose Diaz-Balart, a journalist with Noticias Telemundo. The topic of the interview was Rubio’s plans for the White House, specifically, where he stands on immigration reform and his thoughts on the fate of the 11-12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Following, I have translated excerpts of the interview. Rubio addresses his reasons for running, his stance on Obamacare, his views on DACA, DAPA, and his emphasis on one-piece-at-a-time immigration reform.
Marco Rubio is a Cuban-American senator. A Republican politician, he launched his presidential campaign for 2016 after working in government for 16 years. The first 9, in local government in the state of Florida, followed by six years in the senate. He was born in Miami, Florida in 1971. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1993, he attended the University of Miami for a law degree. Rubio’s political career launched with his election to the West Miami City Commission in 1998. He was elected in the Florida House of Representatives the following year. In 2009, Rubio won his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Why do you Want to be President?
This country is undergoing a massive economic transition. The world today is a global economy, no longer a national economy. We have witnessed that this has been very difficult for the middle class. We have to adjust to this new area, creating a vibrant economy that allows us to compete in the global stage, and increase our educational system so that people attain the right education for this economy and its jobs. I have a vision and a plan to make this happen.
I understand the realities of the middle class because I was raised in that class. I have a much wider political trajectory than Obama had when he came into office.
Senator, you have opposed Obamacare, millions of Hispanics have benefited from it. Obamacare has offered medical insurance that before was not available. If you become president, would you eliminate Obamacare?
Rubio: It’s creating more problems than is worth. Under the plan, people cannot go to old medical providers, and not all hospitals accept the plan. There are also very high deductibles and high balances in many cases.
What is your position on Immigration Reform? You were part of an original 8 that proposed immigration reform that was approved and then, you abandoned it.
Rubio: We have to reassure the American people that we will not have another migratory crisis in the future. We have to control illegal immigration. And if we can accomplish that, I have faith that the American public will be open to two things: migratory reform that modernizes the system for legal immigration and; second, address the problem of 11 or 12 million undocumented people living in this country. Undocumented people need to come forward. They will be checked for prior antecedents and if they have criminal histories, they will not qualify. If they do qualify, they will start paying taxes; they will also pay fines, obtain a work permit, and remain in that status for ten or 11 years. Then, if they follow through during those years, they will be able to apply for residency through a system similar to everyone else’s. In the meantime, they will continue working with their work permit. This is a plan that I think is realizable.
In the meantime would take executive action to protect all the people that are here without documents and are here with full families. You’ve seen the deportations that are taking place every day.Would you respect DACA?
Rubio: Two things. DACA is already here. It can’t be a permanent policy of the US. But it would be difficult to remove it now because there are people already working under it. It has to end sometime, though. But not immediately. There are people that have paid money and, applied and received DACA permission to work. I think it should end, and I hope it ends with migratory reform.
I am against DAPA, because I think it creates for us an additional problem. People expected us to legalize 12 million people and never enforce immigration laws.
Marco Rubio also granted interviews to Al Punto’s Jorge Ramos. Below, he expands on his immigration plan:
Senator Rubio, in your book you mention how much you were inspired by Barack Obama’s campaign that he didn’t run as an African-American, and now, you are not running as a Hispanic candidate, why?
Rubio: Well, obviously I’m Hispanic from Cuban parents, and raised in an Hispanic community. My message and my politics apply to all Americans. Without a doubt the Latino community is hardworking, and they are people that are looking to better their lives. But a president has to work for everyone, not just a group.
Republicans have always struggled to get the Latino vote, and you talk about very concrete themes that affect Hispanics directly. Let’s start first with the deferred action, DACA. Would you support this executive order that would benefit more than4 million undocumented?
Rubio: I wouldn’t immediately, but it has to end. DAPA has stalled positive immigration reform. DAPA is not operating at the moment and Yes, I would cancel it. But DACA I would not cancel it immediately because some people are currently benefiting from it but yes, I would eventually end it. What everyone wants is immigration reform.
So you are saying you’d end DACA once we have immigration reform? But, senator what happens if we don’t pass immigration reform? Would you cancel DACA anyway?
Rubio: Yes. At some point it must end. I will propose immigration reform but it won’t happen as a massive project. We already tried that approach. And we have found that the political support for such changes does not exist. We have wasted a lot of time on this process instead of focusing on the steps that I propose. It’s had an opposite effect, creating conflict. I feel it’s important t modernize our system. This means, improve the way in which we enforce the laws in the future; modernize the immigration system so it’s not so costly and bureaucratic, and we have to deal with 12 million illegal immigrants that are already hear.
You’ve been accused of having anti immigrant positions.
Rubio: There is no support in congress for a path to citizenship for all until we can prove to congress that the immigration laws will be enforced.
You supported the Arizona law that persecutes immigrants.
Rubio: Cite me correctly. I approve of Arizona’s right to pass their own laws on immigration. But I don’t think it should serve as a model for its use nationwide.
You are against the Dream Act and want to make English the Official language.
Rubio: I do want to help the young undocumented here, but I’m not in support of how the DREAM act goes about it. Leaving them in the dark is the result of the democrats who have controlled this process. These have all been their ideas.
You have books on your shelf from republican leaders that were in favor of legalizing undocumented workers: Regan, Bush and McCain. But you don’t.
Rubio: Yes, I look up to them. But I have my own views on things based on my own life experience and what is happening today in this country.
The public told me to tell you they want you to go out and defend us, that senator Rubio fight for us, the undocumented.
Rubio: Unfortunately, many empty promises have been made to this group. All the candidates come and make them all kinds of promises, knowing fully well that it is impossible. Because there aren’t enough votes. I’m looking to do something that is realizable.
Marco Rubio is sympathetic to Americans who feel they are being taken advantage of by illegal immigrants and favors a one-piece-at a time immigration reform. The Senator’s views have caused distrust among Latino voters, as seen in the sign below, “Rubio’s Dream is our Nightmare.”