JUAN WILLIAMS: There are several issues of concern to the Latino community, and number one may be the fact that 90 percent of them support passage of a DREAM Act that would allow children that have grown up in this country, who are in school, who serve in the military a pathway to becoming American citizenship.
Yet the congress has blocked it. You oppose it. Why?
MARCO RUBIO: Well I think there’s 90 percent support for the concept of helping young kids that were brought in this country through no fault of their own, have grown up here their entire lives, are academic achievers or want to serve in the military and would like to stay in the U.S. legally.
There’s 90 percent support for that among Latinos. I think there’s 90 percent support for that among the American people, that concept.
The DREAM Act itself has problems that have led to that opposition.
The first problem with the DREAM Act is we can’t get 60 votes for it in the Senate, so that right away, as a person that has to operate in the process, if we want to get something done I have to have 60 votes. There are a lot of things I want to get done I can’t get 60 votes for.
The second thing is the DREAM Act itself has certain things that lead to that opposition.
For example, it would allow for chain migration, so not only are the kids going to be helped, but they could use that position to bring in their relatives, and that could be 3, 4 million people, so that raises red flags.
So here’s what I think we should do. We figure out a way to accommodate them and there are ways to do that and we are actively working for ways to do that that gets us to 60 votes sooner -- whether it’s a visa process that legalizes them and wouldn’t prohibit them in the future from accessing the citizenship process, but it wouldn’t give them a pathway to it specially carved out.
These are all options that are going to be on the table and that I’m willing to discuss and work with anyone to help accomplish.
What I have found unfortunately in my time here in Washington is that this is a very powerful issue, and that in fact there are those that maybe don’t want this solved but that would like to leave it there so they can use it in the elections.
JUAN WILLIAMS: You’re saying Democrats?
MARCO RUBIO: Sure, absolutely
JUAN WILLIAMS: But are you also saying that you then, in principle, support the DREAM Act?
MARCO RUBIO: No, I support the idea behind the DREAM Act, which is to help these young kids.
I don’t support the DREAM Act as currently drafted because it allows for chain migration, because it creates a pathway to citizenship that could potentially encourage illegal immigration in the future.
I do support, and have consistently supported, even during my campaign, I have supported the notion that we need to accommodate these kids who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in this legal limbo.
But we have to do it the right way. So I am actively engaged in working with my colleagues and with outside groups and conservative groups -- and anyone who will work with me -- to craft a solution that helps deal with this issue, but does not do it in a counter-productive way.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Well, does that distance you from the majority of Latinos in America?
MARCO RUBIO: No, I think the majority of Latinos in America look at this issue the way the majority of Americans do and say...
I’ll give you the perfect example.
We have the case of a young girl in South Florida who came to this country when she was 4 years old on her mother’s tourist visa.
She’s grown up here her whole life, her mother returned to Colombia for medical care, which means the visa expires and she’s out of status.
The problem is this young girl is the valedictorian of her high school, she has a 6.6 GPA and she has Ivy League schools that are encouraging her to come and study.
She wants to be a molecular biologist.
Our policy can’t be to deport her. You know if she could dunk a basketball or if she could throw a 90 mph fast ball you know we’re going to keep her, but if she’s the valedictorian we’re going to deport her?
So the American people -- Republicans, Democrats, conservatives -- they look at a case like that and say: "You’re right, it makes no sense, we got to figure something out." And what I want to do is figure something out to help people like her in that situation that’s bipartisan, that unites us, that can get to 60 votes but that doesn’t have some of the problems that the DREAM Act, as currently drafted, has.