Rubio: Immigration is a Federal Issue, Not State
The issue of illegal immigration is a federal one that should be dealt with by Congress, not a question for the states, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio said Thursday.
In saying that neither Florida - nor any other state – should have to decide whether to enact a new law on how police should deal with illegal immigrants, Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, sidestepped taking a direct position on the Arizona law, which allows police to check to make sure people they stop are in the country legally.
Rubio refused to give a yes or no answer about whether he supported the Arizona law, saying immigration policy was not a yes or no issue. But he said if Florida were considering enacting such a law – which some Republican lawmakers have proposed – he would say simply that it should be dealt with at the federal level, not by the states.
“I don’t think it should serve as a model for Florida or any other state,” Rubio said during a question and answer session with reporters and editors at the Florida Press Association and Florida Society of News Editors convention in Sarasota. “The proper place for immigration law is at the federal level, not at the state level.”
Rubio didn’t sidestep the issue of illegal immigration – he reiterated earlier statements that he’s strongly in favor of legal immigration.
Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum on Thursday took on criticism from his Republican primary opponent Rick Scott on the same issue. A Scott commercial implies McCollum is weak on immigration because he said the original Arizona law – before it was changed to try to reduce profiling – wouldn’t work in Florida.
McCollum, speaking sepearately at the same event as Rubio, said the ad mischaracterized his position – and said Scott’s criticism doesn’t make sense because police in Florida can already essentially check immigration status by asking for a driver’s license.
McCollum said he was in favor of making it clear that police should check driver’s licenses to make sure people are in the country legally, but said he doesn’t favor simply allowing police to pull over anyone who may look like an immigrant.