Rubio defends immigration reform, says doing nothing is ‘amnesty’

Rubio and the other seven bipartisan members of the Gang of Eight introduced their comprehensive immigration reform plan on Tuesday, but an unveiling event was postponed until Thursday because of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the country illegally, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.

Rubio said S. 744, isn’t perfect, but that there will be plenty of time for senators to make changes and provide input during the committee and amendment process. He said the more than 800-page bill likely wouldn’t reach the Senate floor until next month.

Republicans, including Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsOur children, our future – bridging the partisan divide Trump starts considering Cabinet Trump tweets: 'Such a great honor' to be GOP nominee MORE (R-Ala.), have complained that the Gang of Eight process was behind closed doors, and have expressed concerns that the bill would be rushed to the floor.

“One other criticism is that it’s being rushed through,” Rubio said. “That’s just not true. ... People are going to have three to four weeks to review it.”

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin to look at the legislation.

Rubio said the bill requires border enforcement measures before any of the 11 million people within the United States illegally were given the opportunity to apply for a green cards.

Rubio and Sens. John McCainJohn McCainRepublican foreign policy advisers call on Congress to probe DNC hack Trump’s minimum wage two-step confuses business groups, advisers Dems fear Trump arguments on terrorism MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump: 'I hope' Russia is able to get Clinton's emails Syria activists cheer Kaine pick Vulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeVulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine GOP Sen. Flake offers Trump rare praise Booker denounces ‘lock her up' chants MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security The Trail 2016: Unity at last MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSyria activists cheer Kaine pick Democratic National Convention event calendar Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE (D-Ill.), Bob MenendezRobert MenendezTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Bacteria found ahead of Olympics underscores need for congressional action for new antibiotics MORE (D-Co.) comprise the Gang of Eight.

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