Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance MORE (R-Fla.) on Sunday cautioned that reports that a bipartisan group in the Senate was close to a deal on reforming the nation’s immigration laws was “premature.”
“I’m encouraged by reports of an agreement between business groups and unions on the issue of guest workers,” said Rubio in a statement released Sunday. “However, reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature.”
The news led to speculation that the “Gang of Eight” senators who are working on an immigration reform deal were nearing a final accord.
Rubio’s colleagues in the group were much more optimistic about quickly finalizing a deal.
On the Sunday morning shows, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Senators buck spending bill over Export-Import Bank Pelosi pans latest GOP stopgap spending offer MORE (R-S.C.) said the group had reached a deal “conceptually” and could roll out a bill as early as “next week.” Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSaudis hire lobbyists amid 9/11 fight Consumer bureau remains partisan target after Wells Fargo settlement Overnight Healthcare: Planned Parenthood deal in sight in Senate | A new 'public option' push MORE (D-N.Y.), who helped broker the business-labor agreement, said a floor vote could come as early as May.
Rubio, however, said the group had made “substantial progress” but cautioned that unveiling the legislation would “only be a starting point.”
“But arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret,” said Rubio.
On Saturday, in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Dem senator won't back spending bill without visa reforms Top GOP chairmen investigating foreign visa program MORE (D-Vt.) Rubio cautioned against a “rush to legislate” on immigration reform.
He warned that moving too quickly could cost public support for immigration reform.
“A rush to legislate, without fully considering all views and input from all senators, would be fatal to the effort of earning the public’s confidence,” said Rubio.
Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, would play a key role in winning support for any immigration bill among conservative GOP lawmakers.
The Senate proposal being finalized will include a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, heightened border security requirements and efforts to boost both low-skilled and high-skilled labor.