Rubio: ‘The American people believe in immigration'
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Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) on Saturday said he believes voters are willing to embrace immigration reform if officials find a way to stem the tide of illegal entrances into the country. 
 
"I think the American people believe in immigration and want it to work for America," the Republican presidential candidate said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. 
 
"I don't think we can make any progress on it until we bring illegal immigration under control," Rubio continued. "That's been the biggest lesson of last three years." 
 
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Rubio pushed for an immigration reform package in 2013, prior  launching his 2016 presidential bid, but he backed off amid staunch opposition from conservatives. 
 
The White House hopeful placed blame for the failed immigration reform effort on President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
 
"I believe people are ready to be very reasonable about it [and] modernize our system," he said. "But before they do anything, they want to make sure that problem we have now of a rampant, out-of-control illegal immigration is brought under control and never happens again, and they don't believe that is and they don't trust this president to do it." 
 
Obama has moved to address immigration through executive action, arguing he had to act on his own because Congress failed to pass an immigration reform measure in his first six years in office.
 
Rubio said blamed the congressional inaction on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who was the majority leader until the beginning of this year.  
 
"It was frustrating for four years in the Senate, and Harry Reid chose to do nothing," he said. "And even now, we face the situation where even if we make progress, you have a president that will veto things.”
 
“There are consequences to electing someone to the highest office of the land is who more interested in doing things by executive order than through the proper channel that our constitution gives us." 
 
Rubio also criticized Obama for striking a nuclear agreement with Iran, saying the president is pursuing the deal "because he wants a legacy. 
 
"He is dying to build exhibits for his presidential library," Rubio said of Obama, who promised to meet with hostile foreign leaders during his 2008 campaign. 
 
"This is going to be that Barack Obama opened up America to Iran, and the next president blew it," Rubio continued. "And it's absurd and our allies in the region know it's absurd."  
 
"We now live in a world where we treat the ayatollah in Tehran with more respect than the prime minister of the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel," the Florida senator said. 
 
He said the final decision on the Iran deal will come down to "whether you are able to convince 13-14 Democrats to vote against it." 
 
He said he is opposed to the nuclear agreement because "the inspection requirements in the deal are a complete sham.”
 
"It sounds almost like an arbitration panel for a contract between two companies," Rubio added.
 
- Updated at 12:00 p.m.