On Wednesday, the Republican senator from Florida told reporters at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire that DACA, which allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and deportation exemption, "will have to end at some point."
According to Rubio, it would be "ideal" if Congress could enact the reform, which President Barack Obama instituted in 2012 through executive action. However, if it doesn't, as it likely won't, the presidential hopeful says, "it will end."
"It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States," Rubio added.
Rubio's position on comprehensive immigration reform has changed dramatically since announcing his bid for presidency. The politician, a child of Cuban immigrants, was a member of the Gang of Eight, a bi-partisan group of senators who wrote a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013.
In recent days, however, the senator voted for a bill seeking to end funding to sanctuary cities, said he wouldn't prioritize a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and, now, affirmed he'd repeal DACA.
"After turning his back on comprehensive immigration reform, this doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s still deeply upsetting that Marco Rubio would be so extreme as to deport children who were raised in the United States and call this country home," Carlos A. Sanchez, coordinator of political campaigns at the People For the American Way, said in a statement. "There’s no question now that on immigration, Marco Rubio is as extreme as the rest of the Republican Party."
Since set in motion, DACA has protected nearly 500 thousand DREAMers from deportation.