Rubio's team says its introduction marks a "first step toward achieving the strongest border security and enforcement measures in U.S. history, modernizing the legal immigration system to encourage economic growth and job creation, and ending today’s de facto amnesty by dealing with the undocumented immigrant population in a tough but fair way that is directly linked to achieving several security triggers."
Recently Sen. Rubio dismissed arguments that the bill offers amnesty for illegal immigrants. He told "Fox News Sunday" that anybody living illegally in the United States and attempting to get a visa would face a long list of qualifications, which includes paying taxes, a fine and an application fee as well as having a job and waiting for at least ten years.
He argues that achieving citizenship through the new plan would be harder than the current one.
Following the bill’s introduction, Rubio issued the following statement:
“Our immigration system is broken, and the status quo of having 11 million undocumented people living under de facto amnesty will only continue if we do nothing to solve this problem. This bill marks the beginning of an important debate, and I believe it will fix our broken system by securing our borders, improving interior enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration to help create jobs and protect American workers, and dealing with our undocumented population in a tough but humane way that is fair to those trying to come here the right way and linked to achieving several security triggers.
“While I believe this legislation is a strong conservative effort that will accomplish all these things and tries to make the best of the imperfect reality we face, it’s not perfect. But I am also confident that an open and transparent process that welcomes public input is going to make it even better.
“This debate must engage the American people and every senator through open hearings, mark-ups and floor debate, as well as a robust, well-informed debate outside the walls of Congress through all the mediums available to us today. This kind of open debate will help the American people understand what’s in the bill, what it means for them and what it means for our future.
“I encourage people to read this bill and tell us what we can do to make it better. To ensure that immigration remains a source of America’s strength and exceptionalism, I invite Floridians and other interested parties to share their thoughts about it with me and submit ideas on ways we can improve it – through our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.”
The so-called "Gang of Eight" also includes: Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).