By Daniel Strauss
November 4, 2015
Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday slammed Donald Trump's record on immigration, saying he only became a hardliner on the issue once he started running for president.
Rubio was asked on Fox News about a poll in Florida showing Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush trailing Trump in their home state. Rubio said it had absolutely nothing to do with Trump's stances on immigration, which currently include an aggressive proposal to build a huge wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.
"Well first of all, Donald was a supporter of amnesty and the DREAM Act, he changed his position on those issues just to run for president," Rubio said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "But beyond it, I don't think that's the issue that's driving it. Florida voters are following the national trends and watching the news cycle. I'm confident that as we get closer to a real election in Florida, those numbers are going to change. And they will."
Rubio's slam comes as Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on the Florida senator, who had a standout performance at last week's debate and has secured some high-profile endorsements, including one from mega donor Paul Singer.
“For years, I’ve been hearing that his credit cards are a disaster," Trump said about Rubio on Tuesday, as he publicly released his new book in Trump Tower. Trump also tweeted that same day about Rubio's record on immigration, and seized on a months-old comment from the Florida senator about how he would not immediately revoke Obama's executive actions.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has struggled to shake his past as a member of the Gang of Eight bipartisan Senate alliance that tried to pass a comprehensive immigration reform proposal. He's since changed tack, and more recently he's begun advocating an approach centered on stronger enforcement of the country's immigration laws.
"But I would just say on immigration it is a very legitimate issue. We are not going to be able to pass a comprehensive approach to the immigration problem. The votes don't exist. We tried that two years ago," Rubio said on Wednesday, adding that "the only way to move forward on immigration begins by enforcing our immigration laws. Part of that is a wall on key sectors of the border. But we also need e-verify, we also need an entry-exit tracking system and until you do that you're not going to be able to do anything else on immigration."
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