Marco Rubio Shifts His Timeline for Ending Childhood Immigration Program

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio speaks during a Faith and Family Presidential Forum at Bob Jones University on Feb. 12, 2016, in Greenville, S.C.PlayPaul Sancya/AP Photo
WATCH Marco Rubio In A Minute

In a subtle shift from earlier statements, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he would get rid of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented immigrants on his first day in office.

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"I said that DACA has to go away and that it will," Rubio said Thursday evening on CNN. “I will on my first day in office get rid of it because it’s unconstitutional.”

Rubio has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he would get rid of “every single one of Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders” if elected president. But back in April, Rubio said on Univision that DACA would have to end “at some point”-- just not immediately.

“DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately,” Rubio said in Spanish, according to an official translation of the interview. “The reason is that there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly.”

“It can’t be cancelled suddenly because there are already people who are benefiting from it. But it is going to have to end,” Rubio continued.

The Rubio campaign has not yet responded to ABC News' request for comment.

Ted Cruz brought up Rubio’s Univision interview at the last GOP debate, accusing the Florida senator of saying one thing in English and another in Spanish.

“Marco went on Univision in Spanish and said he would not rescind President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office,” Cruz said.

“Well, first of all, I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision, because he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio shot back.

In November, Rubio told reporters in New Hampshire - this time in English - that DACA would have to end "at some point," adding that the program could not be the policy of the United States.

“DACA is going to end, and the ideal way for it to end is that it's replaced by reform, a system that creates an alternative. But if it doesn't, it will end,” he said.

For months now, Cruz and Rubio have gone after each other on immigration. This week the Cruz campaign released a new ad hitting Rubio for having once supported the Gang of 8 Bill, which would have provided undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship.

"Rubio got to Washington and wrote the bill giving amnesty to illegals using Obama's talking points,” the ad exclaimed. "Marco Rubio burned us once. He shouldn't get the chance to sell us out again."

Rubio has argued Cruz has also supported legalizing people who are in the nation illegally, and that he wanted to double the number of green cards and supported a 500 percent increase in the number of guest workers.