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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Beyond 'amnesty,' some conservatives worry Rubio's immigration plan could add Democratic voters

16

January

Amnesty.

It's the main thing Sen. Marco Rubio is fighting as he pushes out on immigration. He insists he's not promoting amnesty, pointing to penalties and other hoops immigrants would have to jump through before getting in the back of the line to seek citizenship.

But there is another worry some conservatives share: Millions of new Democratic voters.

"Democrats are not only going to give them a path to legalization, they are going to give them a fast-path to voting rights in the United States," radio host Laura Ingraham told Rubio on her show this morning. "Not just the people who are here illegally under the age of 30, the younger people who went to college, but everybody. I don't see how you win that argument because they're always going to (say) 'Well, their relatives can come here too, and then their second cousins.' And then it just keeps going on."

Rubio replied, "I don't think that's what the vast majority of people out there that are looking for immigration reform are asking for. ... We do have to deal with this issue but we can't do anything that's going to encourage illegal immigration in the future and we can't do anything that's unfair to the people that are trying to do it legally."

Ingraham played audio of WH Press Secretary Jay Carney remarking how similar Rubio's ideas are to Obama's. She asked, "Will you work with the White House on these goals?"

"I'll work with anybody that's serious," Rubio said.

He quickly followed back to his earlier point, highlighting the probationary period an immigrant would face before seeking citizenship. "They're going to have to be in that for a significant period of time."

Ingraham: "That's not going to fly with the White House, Marco. That's not going to fly. They're going to just run right over you. They're going to say 'pathway and it's got to be fast.' "

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Monday, Rubio was asked about whether immigration reform would add more Democrats. He said he was confident the GOP's principles of limited government and free enterprise appeal to Hispanics. But he also acknowledged rhetoric on immigration had gotten in the way.

“It’s an argument we can’t make if they think we want to deport their grandmother. It’s an argument we can’t make if they think somehow our party, our movement is against them," Rubio said. "It’s not a fair characterization. But it’s one that the left has been able to make because of some of our positions on this issue in the past by a small number of people who make a lot of noise about it.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:19am]

    

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