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Sen. Rubio says most of immigration reform bill in ‘perfect shape’

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday said that much of the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill was in “perfect shape,” but added he would insist on tougher border security measures.

Rubio, one of the authors of the bill, was asked if he still supported it on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I think it's an excellent starting point, and I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go.  But there are elements that need to be improved.  This is how the legislative process is supposed to work,” said Rubio.

The Tea Party favorite, seen as critical to winning conservative support for the measure, has called for more stringent border security requirements.

On Sunday Rubio declined to say if he would vote against the bill without those added provisions.

“I don't really want to get involved in these hypotheticals and ultimatums,” he said.

Rubio said he was optimistic that senators could craft a border deal.

“Because the bottom line is a bill that does not have increased border security, which everyone now I think has conceded needs to happen -- I think the debate now is about what that border security provision looks like,” he said.

Rubio has taken sharp criticism from many on the right who fear he will help push through a bill they see as providing amnesty to illegal immigrants and abandon efforts for border enforcement.

“On virtually every other issue, I agree with many of the folks that right now are just not supportive of the immigration reform bill,” seeking to downplay any divide. “I understand why they are opposed to it.  I really do.  I mean, we have the most generous country in the history of the world, whose immigration laws have been taken advantage of. “

Rubio was asked to respond to a statement from conservative commentator Ann Coulter that he was being “played” by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in immigration talks.

“I don't even know what that means,” said Rubio.

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