Rubio told the story of his parents’ poor background growing up in Cuba and how they saved money to move to Florida.
Rubio helped author the immigration reform bill that the Senate is expected to pass shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday. He has received criticism from conservatives in his party for being part of the negotiations.
Rubio is considered a potential Republican presidential nominee for 2016, but some have said his political stock has gone down because of this legislation. Rubio has countered that he didn’t get involved in immigration reform to make friends, but because he wanted to solve a problem plaguing the country.
“The miracle of America is still alive … and that’s why I support this reform: not just because I believe in immigrants, but because I believe in America even more,” Rubio said.
The Gang of Eight bill would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest-worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.
Critics of the legislation have complained that it repeats the mistakes of the last major immigration reform in 1986 by granting “legalization before border security.”