Rubio: 'Gang of 8' immigration bill never meant to pass

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GOP presidential hopeful Marco RubioMarco RubioJuan Williams: When WikiLeaks leaked my cell number 56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race New York Times endorses Rubio's rival MORE on Monday said a controversial immigration reform bill he helped negotiate in 2013 was never meant to pass the Congress.

As a member of the so-called “Gang of 8,” the Florida senator negotiated an immigration compromise between Republicans and Democrats. But the bill never made it past conservatives in the House who complained it provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Rubio has taken criticism from fellow GOP presidential candidates for his role in the immigration package. On Monday, he suggested the bill was for show and he never expected House Republicans to go through with it.

“The Senate immigration law was not headed towards becoming law,” Rubio said Monday at a campaign appearance in South Carolina, according to NBC News. “Ideally, it was headed towards the House, where conservative members of the House were going to make it even better.”

This represents a sharp departure for Rubio, who previously called it a “good piece of legislation” that House Republicans should “take a look at."