Obama has 'undermined' immigration reform effort, Sen. Rubio says

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said that President Obama’s handling of the 16-day government shutdown has made the path to reforming the country’s immigration system more difficult.

Republicans’ lack of trust for the president, Rubio said on “Fox News Sunday,” makes the prospect of a final bill bleaker than ever.

“The president has undermined this effort,” he said.

“I certainly think that immigration reform is a lot harder to achieve today than it was just three weeks ago,” he added.

He said that conservatives who oppose legislating “amnesty” for immigrants who came to the country illegally don’t believe that the White House would follow the letter of the law in implementing any bill that called for enforcement alongside legalization.

“You have a government and a White House that has consistently decided to ignore the law or how to apply it,” he said, noting a decision earlier this year to delay until 2015 a key requirement of ObamaCare that was originally set to take effect next year.

Rubio said that he was happy to have House lawmakers pass immigration reform legislation that was different than the Senate’s bill, and said it may be an improvement from the one he helped write.

“The House deserves the time and space to craft their own solution,” he said.

Rubio noted that his poll numbers have declined in recent weeks, after the Senate passed an immigration reform bill.

He noted that that should prove the political difficulty of tackling immigration reform, but that “I was in an position to make a possible difference.”

President Obama has said that he wants immigration reform completed by the end of the year, as one of the top items on his agenda.

Rubio also said on Sunday that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should be commended for his work to lead Republicans in the Senate during negotiations to end the government shutdown and raise the nation's debt ceiling. 

Rubio said he supported McConnell's reelection race against a Tea Party-backed primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

“I do support Sen. McConnell’s reelection,” he said. “I think he’s trying to lead our conference.”