Rubio: Boston attack exposes immigration flaws

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 23, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now earlier this week, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also expressed concerns about potential flaws in our nation's border control policies and he added that those flaws need to be addressed as the debate over immigration reform continues in Washington.

Joining me now to explain is the man himself, Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Senator, welcome back to the program. Good to see you.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thank you for having me back.

HANNITY: You know, when they say on the one hand, they give us one story 24 hours ago. Now they contradict themselves.

RUBIO: Right.

HANNITY: This guy, it was pointed out as a potential radical extremist. I'm concerned we are back to Benghazi and blaming a YouTube video here, Senator. Where have I seen this stance before?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think the FBI continues to learn about what actually happened and didn't happen. But here's what's clear, they did know he left and in fact, what happened was after they checked him out, they said they didn't find anything and they kind of closed the case.

Then he comes back in the country and they were aware of that as well, but nobody followed up because the case had been closed. That's problematic. I don't know how much they know about what he did when he was over there.

But here's the bottom line. The bottom line is we have now an emerging problem here, which we knew was going to be a problem and that is people living in the United States, maybe citizens, maybe lived here their whole lives, who are being radicalized by things they are hearing or reading and learning how to make bombs on the Internet, et cetera.

This is the growing face of the terrorists' threat facing our country. It's a very serious threat and we need to stop playing political correctness with it and identify it for what it is. This is terrorism.

Just because it wasn't organized in a cave somewhere in the Middle East, does it not make it terrorism, this is terrorism. This is terrorism and we need to deal with it that way.

HANNITY: Senator, there was one article that said we had an increase since 9/11 2001, about 500 percent of Saudi student visas, people coming into this country. Culturally, if you come from a country like Saudi Arabia where women cannot drive, women must be covered, women cannot go out in public without a male that they are related to and they have the morality police.

When there's such a cultural difference, do we need to consider that when we are thinking about allowing people into this country, when we have the choice of who we can let in?

RUBIO: Let me say this about that, and I said this the other day, there are flaws that are exposed by this incident. We need to understand what those flaws are and correct them. So you point -- let me give you something that is a factor that we take into account.

We do not admit people, or we are very reticent to admit people here from other countries on visitors' visas or tourist visas if it's a country where people tend to overstay. Some countries don't have the overstay problem and it's easier for them to come visit than people that are coming from countries that overstay. In essence, we take that into account. What is the likelihood of this individual to come here and overstay their visa?

Why wouldn't we do that when it comes to national security? In essence, we should be able to analyze, these are individuals coming from a part of the world that keeps feeding into the terrorist network. We should be concerned about that.

I don't want to generalize everybody, but there is no right to come into the United States. It's something we allow people to do. There's no right to be able to come here from abroad and study.

So we should be very careful about who we allow in and take into account every single measure or every single factor that we think could lead to somebody being more likely possibly a member of a terrorist organization or involved in terror.

HANNITY: A lot of conservatives have had skepticism over the immigration bill and that was prior to the terror attack in Boston. Some said there were secret e-mails between you, and Grover Norquist and KATO over the issue and you changed your position a little bit. I want to give you a chance to respond to these things.

RUBIO: First of all, I don't know about anything about secret e-mails with anybody. I don't secret e-mail anyone so I don't know what that's referring to. I think what they are talking about is groups that are in support of what we're working on asking for, you know, talking points on some things. That is very common, but no secret e-mails with anybody.

I will say this. You know, I think people have a good reason to be skeptical about immigration reform because this administration has not done a good job of enforcing the law. What I have found over the last few days is that one of the biggest obstacles we face here is a lack of trust in the administration's willingness to enforce the law.

But my point is, if we don't do anything, that's exactly what you're leaving in place. The only way that I know how to make this administration -- this administration or a future administration -- to secure the border is to pass a law that forces them to secure the boarder, and that's what I'm working on.

And that's what our bill does. It requires them to spend upwards of $5.5 billion on a border security plan, on a fencing plan. In addition to that, it requires the full implementation of E-verify.

It requires the full implementation of an entry and exit tracking system. That's so much better than what we have in place right now. So if we don't do anything or if we can't get those things done then what stays in place is what we have now, and how is that good for us?

HANNITY: Why don't we start at the beginning and walk through what a registered provision immigrant is. If this bill passes, what happens on day one? Then we have a series of triggers before somebody could even apply for a green card.

RUBIO: That's right.

HANNITY: Explain what those triggers are so that we don't have a third wave of illegal immigrants, another, quote, "amnesty debate discussion" in the country.

RUBIO: That's exactly right. I don't want people to point to 10 ten years from now and say what a mistake that was, I want to get it done right. That's why I'm willing to listen to anyone who has an idea of how to make it better.

But let me walk you through that briefly. First of all, you have to come forward. You have to have been here by a date certain in the past, December of 2011. Nothing happens on day one, nothing. There's a six-month period in which the Department of Homeland Security must create both a border security plan and a border fencing plan and we allocate money for both of those plans.

Once the plans are in place and they have begun to implement those plans, then once people who are illegally here, if they have been here at least three years prior, they have to come forward and undergo a criminal background check, a national security background check. They'll have to pay a $2,000 fine. They'll have to pay an application fee, and then the only thing they get is they get a provisional status that allows them to work in the United States and makes them pay taxes.

They don't qualify for any federal benefits. And of course, they will have to be in that status for 10 years until those border security plans are in place, E-verify is in place and entry-exit tracking system is in place.

HANNITY: All right, Senator, we have obviously a lot more ground. We will bring you back and talk about it when we have a little bit more time, but we appreciate as always you being with us. Thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you, Sean.

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