(CNN) – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, defended immigration reform efforts Thursday, even though some in his party are upset that he and other Republican senators are attempting to find a legal pathway for undocumented immigrants.
"I understand why people are frustrated. I do," he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.
"I can tell you politically this is as much a negative as it is a positive. People are really upset. I respect it, and I understand it. By the other token, though, this is hurting America."
Rubio, who joined three Republicans and four Democrats in drafting the Senate immigration bill, said there are people that are "mad at us" for getting involved in the issue.
"Certainly there are people that are upset," he said. "Primarily, they're just distrustful the government will do its part."
In order to quell those concerns, Rubio said the government must ensure that it will carry out proposals in the bill that boost border security. Those provisions include doubling the number of agents, completing a 700 mile fence, and spending $3.2 million on technology upgrades.
The first-term senator, who's widely considered a potential 2016 contender for the Republican presidential nomination, argued he's not concerned about the political risk of tying his name so closely to the controversial bill.
"I have not analyzed it that way. If I wanted to do something political, the easiest thing to do politically is just not deal with the issue. You know, give a couple speeches, and not play and get involved and try to solve it," he said. "I'm dealing with this because this is hurting our country badly."