(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” on Sunday that Republicans shouldn’t be required to trade border security for something else with Democrats, because both parties are for border security.
Rubio said he doesn’t think “shutdowns are good leverage.” He’s seen two shutdowns since he’s been in Congress, “and the aggressor in neither one was the winner.”
“I think it's important to separate the tactics from the goal and the policy aim, and what the president wants is not unreasonable. It's a fraction of what Democrats have voted for in the past,” he said.
“And, more importantly, I think, at least for me, is achieving border security is the key that unlocks the door to doing other things on immigration that he's expressed a willingness to do, the extension of TPS, dealing with the DACA population,” Rubio said.
“First of all, we shouldn't be trading border security for anything, because it's something we're all for. If you are for something and I'm for something, why do we need to barter and negotiate over it?” he said.
“And the second part about it is, they don't have to leverage the president on what to do with people in DACA or TPS, because he's already expressed a willingness to do things on that,” Rubio said.
He said people will be “surprised at how much this White House is willing to do, maybe not as far as the Democrats want to go, but how much certainty they're willing to provide people under DACA, under TPS, people that have been here for a long time, but aren't criminals, if the president can get his primary promise, which should be something we all share.”
“And that is that we want to protect our borders in a way that's effective, and that's why, to me, apart from the fact that we should protect our borders and everyone should be in agreement with that, is the fact that it opens the door to doing much more on these other issues and finally beginning to solve this issue of immigration that for 20 years people have talked about, but no one has done anything about it,” he said.
Tapper said the only reason people under DACA and TPS “are in this unsettled and insecure status is because of President Trump taking away the protections that had previously existed for them.”
Rubio said programs like DACA and TPS “are called temporary protective status for a reason.”
“And if you just were to look at it from a hard, cold, analytical perspective, the controversy, the crisis that justified those TPSes had long ago passed. So, at this point, the reason why people like me want to see TPS extended and perhaps even provide permanency for people from Haiti, from Honduras and other places, is, they have been here a long time,” he said.
“Some of these people are business owners. They have children that are U.S. citizens. They have children that are deployed on behalf of this country. So, the longer time passes, the deeper roots people have in our country, the more sense it makes to allow them to say. But TPS, by name, by design, is supposed to be temporary. The president is simply following the law in that regard,” Rubio said.
Rubio said Trump is willing to extend TPS, “maybe even find permanency.”
“In fact, they've told me they're willing to provide permanency in some cases for these people, but he's got to get his first priority done. It's the way he can justify it, and it's the key that unlocks the door to everything else. That's why I hope, tactics aside, we can all agree that border security is important for America and it creates opportunity to do more on these other issues,” he said.