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Rubio, co-architect of sweeping 2013 bipartisan immigration bill, critical of new Biden measure

N.Y. Sen. Chuck Schumer was an author of the 2013 immigration bill, and as the new Senate majority leader, he will likely be the leading force in moving Biden's bill forward.

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Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Updated: January 21, 2021 - 4:40pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a central figure in the 2013 bipartisan immigration reform bill, is opposed to President Joe Biden's legislation on immigration.

"America should always welcome immigrants who want to become Americans," Rubio said Wednesday before Biden became president, according to the Washington Examiner. "But we need laws that decide who and how many people can come here, and those laws must be followed and enforced."

"There are many issues I think we can work cooperatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn't going to be one of them," he said.

In 2013, Rubio helped write the first draft of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

The Senate passed the bill on a 68-32 vote. However, then-GOP House Speaker John Boehner did not give the measure a vote.

The bill that Biden sent to Congress on Wednesday proposed major changes to U.S. immigration policy, including a path for 11 millions illegal immigrants in the U.S. to gain citizenship. The measure — the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 — also calls for enhancing worker-labor protections and implementing "smart" border controls.

Illegal immigrants are able to apply for legal status on a temporary basis, permitting them to reside and work in the U.S. and then after five years, apply for a green card. They would have to go through a background check and have paid taxes prior to receiving a green card. Immigrants protected from deportation, such as those in the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are exempt from waiting five years before being allowed to apply for a green card.

New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was an author of the 2013 immigration bill and is expected to champion Biden's measure. However, passage will be difficult with the 100-member chamber now having 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. 

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