Rubio gives closing remarks in immigration debate
June 27th, 2013
03:07 PM ET
10 months ago

Rubio gives closing remarks in immigration debate

(CNN) - Sen. Marco Rubio made his final pitch Thursday for immigration reform, just hours before the Senate was set to vote on the comprehensive package that he helped create with seven other senators.

Taking refrains from previous speeches, the first-term Republican senator from Florida told the story of his own parents, who came from Cuba in 1956.

Rubio talked about his mother crying at the death of President John F. Kennedy and her feelings of joy the night man first walked on the moon. With each national heartbreak and heartache, he said, his parents became more assimilated into the United States.

"Well before they ever became citizens in their hearts, they had already become Americans," Rubio said on the Senate floor. "We focus so much on how immigrants can change America that we forget that America has always changed immigrants even more."

Elected with strong tea party support in 2010 and considered a potential presidential candidate, Rubio has faced scorn from those in the GOP who disagree with his immigration efforts.

The bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight announced in January they were drafting the immigration reform bill, which they formally unveiled in April. But Rubio has been pushing a need for changes in immigration long before that and has been known as a leading voice on the issue since he took office.

The plan being voted on Thursday includes a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country illegally. Rubio backed a compromise amendment this week that added tougher border security provisions, but some conservatives in the House and Senate still question the legislation.

Rubio, who's acknowledged the anger he's faced by his own party, fiercely defended his push for immigration reform on Thursday in his closing remarks. Along with his own family's story, he talked about the nation's history of immigration.

"A collection of people from everywhere, we became one people, the most exceptional nation in all of human history," he said.

And his impassioned speech attempted to quell concerns that immigrants will have too much of an influence on the way of life in the U.S.

"Here in America, those who once had no hope will give their kids the chance at a life they always wanted for themselves. Here in America, generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass," he said "That's why I support this reform, not just because I believe in immigrants, but because I believe in America even more."

Following Rubio's remarks, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said the bill was the wrong approach.

"I think the heart of America is good and they're willing to deal compassionately and not try to deport 11 million people and they want to do the right thing about this," he said, but added they want to do it by creating "a lawful system, a system we can be proud of, a system that serves the national interest."

Sessions argued the sponsors of the current bill "spent months in negotiations with special interests and lobbyists to produce a bill that will not work."

An opponent of the legislation, Sessions read aloud a statement from the unions representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers. The union presidents reiterated their opposition to the package.

"ICE officers and USCIS adjudication officers have pleaded with lawmakers not to adopt this bill," Sessions read from the statement. "The Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven proposal will make Americans less safe and it will ensure more illegal immigration, especially VISA overstays in the future."

"We urge all lawmakers to oppose the final cloture vote on Thursday and to oppose the bill, which we will be voting on soon," the statement continued.


Filed under: Immigration • Marco Rubio • Senate
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    These REPUBLICAN idiots are so pathetic to this nation.

    June 27, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz aka Take Back The House

    Leave it up to Klansman Sessions to defeat this bill.

    June 27, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Claghorn

    Again with the token immigrant. Rubio, Has sold his soul to say he's a republican. As soon as they've used him up, he'll be sent down to the minors. He'll never be a tried and true republican. His sucking up will make no difference when push comes to shove.

    June 27, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Sessions argued the sponsors of the current bill "spent months in negotiations with special interests and lobbyists to produce a bill that will not work."
    -----------------
    Notice to those not paying attention. Republicans have not introduced an immigration bill of their own that can pass.

    June 27, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. California

    Hey Reid, How's it going to feel to have a bill you passed not voted on?

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA

    June 27, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. California

    Rudy NYC

    Sessions argued the sponsors of the current bill "spent months in negotiations with special interests and lobbyists to produce a bill that will not work."
    -----–
    Notice to those not paying attention. Republicans have not introduced an immigration bill of their own that can pass.
    -------
    Apparently the democrats haven't either. Whatever it is must pass both the senate and house otherwise doesn't pass period.

    June 27, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. California

    Rewarding people that cut to the front of the line is sheer stupidity.

    June 27, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    California wrote:

    Apparently the democrats haven't either. Whatever it is must pass both the senate and house otherwise doesn't pass period.
    -----------------
    Notice to those not paying attention. The Senate bill has already passed the 60 vote filibuster. All it needs is a majority. Furthermore, Republicans cannot even agree on a bill that passes a majority of their majority, which is supposed to guarantee passage in the House.

    June 27, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If there was greater enforcement of companies so that they don't hire those that are not allowed to work here, it might make some of this easier. There needs to be cooperation between local, state and federal labor agencies about enforcement. Companies, large and small, need to have larger consequences when illegally hire people are found. There needs to be something that scares the companies into doing the enforcement themselves to a greater degree.

    June 27, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Vell Dos See,
    We have a nearly 17 Trillion Dollar Federl Debt, High unemployment, close to 50 million on Food Stamps, numuro uno morgages under water, and you want to add another 10 to 30 to the Welfare Rolls. And on top of that you think the people are stupid and will just give away the store. People are stupid enough to do that. Shucks it isn't going to affect me, why should I are. The Government will take care of me, I also have Omama Care. Humm what's that smoke I see. Rome couldn't be burning, could it. Awwh, My Fiddle is in tune! Don't forget to send my Welfare Check now, Ya all!

    June 27, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Guess

    And thatswhy the gop has now estimated the cost of securing the border @46 billion, it started @2, then 3, but alas, the price tag might be acceptable, so now we reformulate that to make absolutely certain we get nowhere, more of the same, i hope people are watching this, then pay more attention to other issues, and inevitably realise the gop wants nothing to do with progress, jobs jobs jobs anyone?

    June 27, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -California

    Rewarding people that cut to the front of the line is sheer stupidity.
    *******************
    How does the Right plan to pay for all this security, which probably won't work anyway?

    June 27, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Hey Reid, How's it going to feel to have a bill you passed not voted on? "

    Watching the GOP/Teatrolls make the single biggest mistake they've made during Obama's presidency will be hilarious, thanks. /popcorn

    June 27, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Hammerer

    One thing that Rubio neglected to mention was the law of the land that America did stand for.
    Any way you cut it America has become a land of mob rule!

    June 27, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. rs

    California

    Hey Reid, How's it going to feel to have a bill you passed not voted on?

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA
    ____________________________
    Hey, Cali- How does it feel to have Boehner exile your party into obscurity?

    June 27, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine wrote:

    How does the Right plan to pay for all this security, which probably won't work anyway?
    ------------------–
    They've already shown us with that bill the House failed to pass last week. The bill added $40 billion in fencing, which was offset by $40 billion in cuts to food stamps.

    June 27, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. dwicjan

    America is a nation built by immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their children. My grandparents came from what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire, now Poland and the Czech and Slovak republics. They never looked back and I am not sure if they ever became naturalized citizens. All their children and they worked in the steel mills of Gary, IN. Their grandchildren went to college and became accountants, nurses, and bankers. Some were administrative assistants and were in other occupations. Please make the path to citizenship easier for those whose only crime is coming here illegally.

    June 27, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. just sayin

    The Real Tom Paine
    How does the Right plan to pay for all this security, which probably won't work anyway?
    --

    levy heavy taxes on those livin gin sanctuary cities that act as a magnet drawing illegals here.

    June 27, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    Taking refrains from previous speeches, the first-term Republican senator from Florida told the story of his own parents, who came from Cuba in 1956.

    And just how did they come here Marco? Care to tell us that "story" again?
    It just proves – when a man starts lying he can't stop nor can he control the lies he tells.

    June 27, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Jose79845

    Right or wrong, ICE officials have no business lobbying lawmakers on what laws to pass. ICE is supposed to enforce the laws, not make them. It's the same story with law enforcement dictating whether or not marijuana should be legalized. They should butt out and do their jobs.

    June 27, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Gary

    "Rubio gives closing remarks in immigration debate" We can only hope he will giving the closing remarks to his political career.

    June 27, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. John

    Mr. Rubio: America doesn’t care where your parents came from! We only care if they came here illegally! You sir are helping to push a very unpopular agenda (amnesty for illegal aliens) on the American people, an agenda that may well cost you another term in office. You have no idea how unpopular this gang of eights immigration reform package is and just what the American People are capable of. We, sir, will not stand idly-by while you and your gangster friends push this unwanted and preposterous immigration reform act down the throats of the American People! To you Mr. Rubio I say “shame the hell on you!”

    June 27, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Hey Reid, How's it going to feel to have a bill you passed not voted on?
    --------------------------------------------
    Fine with us on the left. Nothing like some good old fashion action packed political suicide.

    June 27, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Cricket666

    I think Rubio is gay!

    June 27, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Cricket666

    Is Rubio a gayguy?

    June 27, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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