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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio supports change to Arizona immigration law ... but not law itself?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, speaking on Spanish-language television Monday night, said he supported a change to Arizona's controversial immigration law -- and not necessarily the law itself.

"The law, how it is now, do you support it, yes or no?" Maria Elvira Salazar asked on Mega TV's Maria Elvira Live.

"I don't support states taking this into their own hands," Rubio replied. "I think this needs to be dealt with at the federal level. What I support is the change they made to the law, because that improved the law."

Earlier this month, the conservative website Human Events asked Rubio if he would have voted for the changed version of the law. "The second one that passed hit the right note. Yes," he said.

The latest nuance on Monday night was part of Rubio's evolving position on the amended law, which makes it a crime for immigrants not to carry legal papers and gives local police the power to question people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Proponents say the measure will bring law and order to a state where the federal government allows illegal immigration to run amok.

After passing the first time, the law was amended to outlaw ethnic and racial profiling by police. But critics say that without any clearly defined criteria, police will be forced to base their suspicions about a person's legal status on his or her nationality or language skills.

"I disagree with that (criticism)," Rubio told Salazar. "I'm a lawyer and I've read it and I support the change, because the change they made -- which is what I support -- makes that law better.

"And I keep saying and repeating, I don't think this is the right way to deal with this issue."

Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:38am]

    

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