"On the one hand we do have a significant illegal immigration problem, it has to be confronted, it has to be solved," Rubio said to Fox News's Sean Hannity. "We cannot be the only country that doesn't enforce its immigration laws. On the other hand we have some very compelling human stories.
Earlier on Monday, the Florida senator dropped his plan to push a revised DREAM Act through Congress before the election — the latest sign the GOP is struggling with how to respond to the president’s immigration order.
Rubio, whose version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was to be released this summer as a high-profile Republican effort to woo Hispanic voters, acknowledged that Obama’s move overshadowed Republican efforts to take on immigration reform.
“People are going to say to me, ‘Why are we going to need to do anything on this now? It has been dealt with. We can wait until after the election,’ ” Rubio told The Wall Street Journal. “And it is going to be hard to argue against that.”
Rubio also blasted the president for "ignoring the Congress" by using an executive order, saying the new policy is an executive band-aid that doesn't resolve the nation's immigration issues in the long run.
"What the president did by ignoring the Constitution, ignoring the Congress makes it harder to find that balance," the Cuban-American freshman senator said on "Hannity." "He's basically taking a very significant issue that needs to be solved in a long term way that measured, reasonable and balanced, and has decided by edict, by fiat, to solve it in the short term, which happens to coincide with a November election."