By Alexander Bolton - 03/05/13 12:32 AM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has split with his one-time political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, over a key aspect of immigration reform.
Rubio told reporters Monday evening that he disagrees with Bush’s position that illegal immigrants should not get a pathway to citizenship.
Rubio said his principles envision a process whereby illegal immigrants who pass background checks and pay a fine can receive a non-immigrant visa, a status they would have for a long period of time before they could apply for citizenship.
“After that all they get is a chance to apply for a green card and they’d have to do it through the same process as everybody else,” he said.
Bush said Monday that he does not support providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants because it would undermine the rule of law.
“Our proposal is a proposal that looks forward. And if we want to create an immigration policy that’s going to work, we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration,” Bush said on NBC’s “Today” show.
“It is just a matter of common sense and a matter of the rule of law. If we’re not going to apply the law fairly and consistently, then we’re going to have another wave of illegal immigrants coming into this country,” he said.
Rubio and Bush are both widely seen as strong possible contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.