DES MOINES - Marco Rubio said Tuesday he does not agree with Donald Trump's call to end so-called birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, though he said some abuses should be addressed.
"I'm open to doing things that prevent people who deliberately come to the U.S. for purposes of taking advantage of the 14th Amendment. But I'm not in favor of repealing it," Rubio told reporters before embarking on a quintessential presidential campaign tour of the Iowa State Fair.
Rubio said that being from South Florida he is aware some people come deliberately to have children. But he quickly added that it's not just people from Mexico or Latin America; rather a growing number are Chinese. "In California it's grown into an industry."
Rubio said he had only read news accounts of Trump's immigration plan and said some ideas "have merit, but the majority of it is really not a workable plan that could ever pass Congress. It's a serious issue. We have to confront it as a country. But it's much more complex than people sometimes give it credit for."
He said there's no "realistic way" of rounding up the millions of undocumented residents and deporting them, as Trump advocates. "And our nation wouldn't want to do that anyway," Rubio added.
While some candidates have latched onto Trump's birthright citizenship stance, including Scott Walker, others such as Jeb Bush disagree. It could not easily be undone.
For Rubio, the issue is personal. He was born in Miami in 1971 and his parents, though in the country legally, did not become citizens until 1975 for reasons that are unclear. (That was not uncommon back then, experts say.)
Rubio was also asked his view on sending women into combat. "Absolutely," he said. "Anyone who is willing to serve our country in uniform and can pass all the requirements of the program can absolutely serve our country."
He called Hillary Clinton's handling of sensitive emails is "concerning" and shows "incompetence on her part."