Schumer: Rubio's fingerprints 'all over' immigration bill with citizenship path
© Greg Nash

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerLawmakers send McCain well wishes after cancer diagnosis OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure Dems tout failure of GOP healthcare bill MORE (D-N.Y.) says Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioBush ethics lawyer: Congress must tell Trump not to fire Mueller The private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  Cruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power MORE's "fingerprints are all over" a 2013 immigration bill with a path to citizenship, highlighting the Florida Republican's ties to a reform effort he has downplayed during his presidential campaign.

"He was not only totally committed, he was in that room with us," Schumer told CNN when asked how committed Rubio was to the "Gang of Eight" immigration effort. "His fingerprints are all over that bill. It has a lot of Rubio imprints."

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Rubio has drawn fire from conservatives for his role in crafting the Senate's 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, a 1,200-page measure that would have put an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship and spent $46 billion to tighten border security.

The bill passed the Senate but died in the House.

Rubio's record on immigration has become fodder his presidential opponents, including Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDem senator: Pardoning targets of Russia probe would be 'crossing a fundamental line' Trump lawyers looking into special counsel's potential conflicts of interest: reports Trump lawyers asking about presidential pardon powers: report MORE, who earlier this year called him "Senator Marco 'amnesty' Rubio." Prominent figures in the conservative media have similarly hammered Rubio for his involvement with the bill.

Since 2013, Rubio's tried to walk a fine line on the issue of immigration, criticizing elements of the Gang of Eight legislation while also saying that he supports reform. 

But Schumer suggested that Rubio didn't resist putting provisions in the legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship — the aspect of the legislation that was denounced by the right.

"He understood it, he molded it, he made it a tough path to citizenship," Schumer, who is expected to be the next Democratic leader, told CNN. "But we all agreed to it, and it would have to be a tough path to citizenship. But he was all for it. "

Progressive groups have attacked Rubio this week for saying that he would end a deferred action program for undocumented immigrants who come to the country as children even if Congress failed to pass immigration reform. 

“It will have to end at some point,” he said after an event in New Hampshire, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

Rubio also recently supported Senate legislation that would crack down on cities that don't comply with federal immigration law, known as sanctuary cities, and increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the country after being deported.