Sen. Marco Rubio on 'This Week'

The "Gang of Eight" member on immigration reform and gun control.
11:08 | 04/14/13

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Transcript for Sen. Marco Rubio on 'This Week'
on the train and then accosted them at the downtown station. He is a man about a fuld full beard and in his 20's. The aircraft crashed on landing in bali. A bipartisan breakthrough on guns. But will either deal survive? We have key players on all sides. Republicans marco rubio and jeff sessions. And democrat chuck schumer. Then, our powerhouse roundtable on all the week's politics. The president jumps into the budget battle. I've already met republicans more than halfway. Why can't we do what we agreed to do? And jay-z's rap on his cuba flap. Plus, we celebrate jackie robinson's legacy, with baseball legend, mariano rivera. Only on "this week." Hello, again. George is off. It is great to have you with us. The last session of congress was the least productive in history. But there are signs that may be about to change. There's a lot of talk about bipartisan compromise this week, including indications that the long-awaited immigration bill is about to be revealed? So, what's in the plan? We're joined by the republican party's pointman, marco rubio. Senator rubio, thanks for joining us. Thank you, jon. So, you are considered the key to getting immigration reform passed. My question this morning, do we have a deal? I'm not the key. I think there's 92 other senators and so many others that I've worked with that are key, as well. I'm here today to communicate to you the importance of this issue and hopefully what we've agreed to. You asked if there's an agreement. The answer is, we've been working hard. And I think we have a position where we've been able to tell our staff to draft something. We need to read that. That's what we're in the process of doing. I'm very optimistic that we're going to have something positive to share with the american people very, very soon, perhaps as early as this week. To be clear, you're talking about something that will give a path to citizenship for those that are in the country illegally right now. And in fact, give them legal status, six months after this becomes law. Well, first of all, I think it's important to understand, it doesn't give anything. It allows people access to the legal immigration system. Some people won't qualify. They haven't been here long enough. They've committed very serious crimes. They won't be able to stay. Number three is, all people will get is the opportunity to apply for things. To apply for a legal status, which isn't awarded on day one. There's a process for that. You have to pay an application fee and a fine. And you have to stay in that status while you pay taxes and prove that you are not a public charge. And you don't qualify for any federal benefits. After some period of time, the only thing you'll get, assuming the border is secure, you get a chance to apply for a green card like everybody else does. Congressman steve king in the house is calling this amnesty. He said this week, that what you're talking about would, quote, pardon immigration law-breakers and reward them with the object of their crime. And senator ted cruz, republican in the senate, was just as harsh. Let's listen to what he has to say. If we pass something that allowed those here illegally to achieve citizenship, it means you're a chump for having stayed in your own country and following the rules. Your response? The existing law allows people illegally access to citizenship. It says you have to go back to your country of birth and you have to wait for ten years and apply for it. All we've done is create an alternative. And it's going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate. It would be cheaper if they went back home, waited ten years and applied for a green card. Secondly, we're not awarding anything. All we're giving people the opportunity to eventually do is gain access to the same legal immigration system, the same immigration process that will be available to everybody else. And number three, in exchange for all of that, we're going to get the toughest enforcement measures in the history of this country. We're going to secure the border to extent that's possible. We're going to have entry and exit systems to track visas. 40% of illegal immigrants are people who entered legally. And we are going to have e-verify universally. You will not be able to find a job in the united states if you're not legally here. One of your toughest republican critics on this, senator sessions, is listening to this interview right now. And he asked the question, is this bill enforcement first? Or is it legalization first? And the bottom line is, with legalization being just six months, the answer is, this is legalization first, isn't it? First, yeah. It's important to understand that if you do just -- that was my original position. The problem is, that what do you do in the meantime? While you're doing all the enforcement mechanisms, what do you do with the people that are undocumented? Is it a big game of cat and mouse, if we catch you, you have to leave. If not, in the future you get to apply. I want to freeze the problem in place, so it doesn't get worse. The second thing, we don't want a rush on the border. They're doing this enforcement stuff. In a few years, they're going to start some process. Let me sneak in now to take advantage of it. We don't want that, either. I want to freeze the problem in place. I'm not happy with the fact we have millions of people here illegally. And those decisions that led to that happening were made when i was in ninth grade. But that's what we have. This is not a theory. It's the reality. What we have today is we don't do anything about it. It's de facto amnesty. What I'm saying is, let's bring the people out to figure out who needs to leave and who we're going to give a chance to, earn their way towards one day being able to apply for a green card the same way everybody else does. And I think that's why that's a better approach. Let's talk about the politics here. What's at stake for the republican party here? What will it do to your party if the conservatives who oppose this succeed in killing it? I'm looking forward to the other 92 senators weighing in make it better. There's eight of us that have worked on this. And we've worked very hard. But there's 92 other people with their own ideas. I've tried to incorporate their ideas as much as possible. Given the bills they filed in the past. They have letters that outlined concerns and we have answers to all of those concerns. I look forward to how they can improve this bill and this product. As far as the republican party is concerned, I just want the republican party to be what it's always been. I want the conservative movement to be what it's always been about. And that's solving problems in a way true to our values and principles of the greatest nation on earth. And immigration is a problem. Even if we didn't have a single illegal immigrant in the united states, we'd have to do immigration reform because our legal immigration system is broken. Immigration is a problem because the laws are not enforced. They're not enforced. We have no way to track people that are overstaying their visas. We have no way to keep people from taking jobs away from americans. And we have no way to secure or border. And leading, not just to an immigration problem. But to a national security, sovereignty and humanitarian problem on the border. And this hopefully achieves progress an all three of the fronts. I hope that I can convince people that leaving people the way we are is much worse than approaching how we've outlined. I want to talk about the compromise last week, the deal on guns. When you were in the florida state legislature, you supported background checks. And back in 2007, you said, if someone is a dangerous person who has shown a proclivity for using firearms to hurt other people, then we don't want them having a permit, much less ownership of a firearm. So, my question to you, I assume you still believe that. You don't want dangerous people with a proclivity to commit crimes. Everyone wants that. Why not have background checks to buy a gun? What's wrong with having background checks at gun shows? We do have background checks. I have weapons -- but senator rubio. We don't have background checks for all sales at gun shows. We don't have background checks for sales online. What the manchin-toomey would do is say, all of those, too, would have background checks. What's wrong with that? Do you want the background checks? The background check system doesn't work because it's not being enforced. Number two, is criminals don't care about the laws we pass with regards to guns. They don't follow the law. That's why they're criminals. Here's the bottom line. I think everyone's in favor of any law that could keep criminals or dangerous people from getting access to guns. The problem is all these laws that people are discussing will not effectively deal with that problem. But will infringe on the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. So, what we need to look for is a compromise that actually accomplishes that. That does not infringe or place additional burdens on law-abiding citizens. And in fact, is effective at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. That begins by enforcing it. Are we going to prosecute people that fail to buy the guns and background checks? They're not prosecuting those right now. Are we going to honor concealed carry permits from across state lines? has gone through a background check. Are we going to honor those at a gun show and other parts of the country? I think that should be part of the bill. And we are missing a golden opportunity to have the real debate we're having, that's a debate about violence. Guns are what they're using to commit the violence. But the problem is violence. And no one is focusing on why this society has become so violent. Why young people in america are committing these horrifying acts. And we are missing a golden opportunity to discuss that and not simply just focus on gun laws that only law-abiding people will follow. Senator, we're almost out of time. I have to ask you about the cuban vacation for jay-z and beyonce, going down to cuba on a cultural visa from the treasury department. You said you thought it was a mistake to allow them to go down there. Jay-z was harsh, about critics like you, saying what's wrong? Heot a criminal for going do what's your message back to jay-z? You can rap it, if you want. He rapped his message to you. I won't rap it. But jay-z needs to get informed. One of his heroes was che guevara. Che gu var ra was a racist. He spout the superior of white europeans over people of african decent. Secondly, if jay-z was truly interested in the state of affairs in cuba, he would have met people being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in cuba, who is being persecuted and undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics. And I think he missed an opportunity. But that's jay-z's issue. The biggest point is the travel policies. The travel policies are being abused. These are tourist trips. They're providing hard currency and funding to a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of cuba. And I think that's wrong. Senator rubio, thank you for joining us on "this week." Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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