Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has often clashed with his fellow Republican presidential candidates over his stance on immigration, which is less hard-line than other proposals.
However, in an interview on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom" on Nov. 12, Rubio clarified that “people will have to be deported” before Congress can address immigration reform.
“We are going to have to deport some people, otherwise if you’re not going to enforce the law, what’s the point of having those laws?” Rubio said.
“Criminals are going to be deported," he added. "People who haven’t been here very long are going to be deported. People overstaying visas are going to have to be deported. That’s how you enforce immigration laws.”
Still, Rubio argued that plans like Donald Trump’s, which advocate for deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants, aren’t feasible.
“The flipside of it is, I do not believe you can round up and deport 11 million people, especially people who have been here 15 years, have not otherwise violated the law, can pass background checks and so forth,” he said. “There’s got to be a process to deal with that realistically.”
In a separate interview with NPR on Nov. 11, Rubio said he’s open to citizenship for some immigrants, but it would be a long precess.
"If you haven't been here very long, or you're a criminal, you will be deported," Rubio said. ”Otherwise, you will have to come forward, pass the background check, learn English, pay a fine, because you violated the law, start paying taxes, and you'll get a work permit. And that's all you're going to have for at least a decade."
He added that after a person's 10-year work permit has expired, he would be open to allowing him or her to apply for a green card.