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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio says immigration work not about 'politics'



Sen. Marco Rubio says his involvement in immigration reform is not about politics, but that in the long-run, it could help the GOP.

"I haven't really done this for the political purpose," Rubio told the American Society of News Editors in Washington. "I have never ever said to anyone -- and I will not say here today -- that if we pass this bill, suddenly Republicans are going to get 55 percent of the Hispanic vote across the country. I do think we if deal with this issue it will allow us to talk about other issues."

As more immigrants get involved in business, he said, they will be drawn to GOP messages about free enterprise and less government. "A lot of people who are trying to start businesses out of the spare bedroom of their home are Americans of Hispanic descent. So I think we have a good opportunity to speak to people about that.

"I would not look to how people feel today politically and say that's how they're going to feel 10 or 15 years from now. America changes immigrants. And people will change, especially once they begin to become fully enveloped in the American economic experience."

In a speech before questions from editors, Rubio said the politics of the issue are "overrated" and acknowledged how his standing among some conservatives has been damaged.

"It's not the politics of it for me. Quite frankly, I can tell you that the politics of it are probably not that positive, certainly in the short-term. As I said a week ago in an interview, I doubt very seriously whether any parades will be held for me whether this bill passes or fails. For me, it's not about the politics. It's truly about the fact that I believe that what we have now is so bad for our country that leaving it in place cannot be an option."


[Last modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 3:00pm]


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