Marco Rubio: Illegal Immigration not "Plague of Locust"

Piggybacking off his speech on Tuesday night, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reiterated his vision for the future of the Republican party on Wednesday which includes better immigration rhetoric that doesn't compare the issue to a "plague of locust."

"When you talk about illegal immigration, you're not talking about plague of locust, you're talking about people," Rubio said at POLITICO's Playbook Breakfast regarding the need for a change in the party's immigration rhetoric.

Rubio said the Republican party "allowed itself to be positioned as the anti-illegal immigration party" and believes the party must make a change.

"We certainly are against illegal immigration...but what we really need to be is the pro-legal immigration party," he said.


"By being it. By basically putting out concrete positions like I intend to do and others intend to do to show that we are proud of the fact that every year 1 million people immigrate to the United States legally and permanently," Rubio said.

The Cuban American, already a favorite to contend for president in 2016, also gave his thoughts on why the GOP lost the Latino vote in this past election by over 40 percentage points.

"The Hispanic voter, number one, is not monolithic. Number 2, there are a large number of Hispanics living in this country who also happen to be liberal Democrats, and there is nothing [Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney and [vice presidential candidates Paul] Ryan could have done to change that," he said. "There is a significant number of Hispanic voters who vote for the candidate not the party. I think there are a lot of things that have happened before this ticket came together that hurt our opportunity to do it."

Rubio emphasized the challenge before the Republican party is not about changing core party principles.

"The challenge for the conservative movement, the challenge for every movement in American politics is to apply your principles that as a conservative I believe are tested and proven by time and history, applying those principles to the 21st century," he said.

Ultimately, he believes the 21st century voter is looking beyond party politics.

"The fastest growing group of voters are voters that vote for candidates not parties," Rubio said."And what they're looking for are people that understand the issues and the anxieties that they face and the hopes that they have and then offer real and concrete policy solutions."

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