Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, says that the majority of Republicans support immigration reform if it solves the problem of illegal immigration perrmanently. (Photo/AP Photo)

Marco Rubio says majority of Republicans support immigration reform

The battle for immigration reform has the support of most Republicans and conservatives, Sen. Marco Rubi, R-Fla. told CNBC on Tuesday, as long as the law can permanently solve the problem of undocumented immigration.

The bill that was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May is a good “starting point,” said Rubio on “Squawk Box,” explaining “our goal here is to pass a law, not just a bill.”

Noting that the immigration reform proposal also calls for tighter border control, Rubio said that certain aspects of the reform deal need to be improved in order to win the support of lawmakers who “don’t trust just turning it over to the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a plan.”

His statements elicited comments from the immigrant youth advocacy network United We Dream, which criticized Senator Rubio’s position, indicating that “he wants to further weaken the bill, introducing more and more out-of-control and unattainable enforcement metrics,” According to United We Dream’s Managing Director, Cristina Jimenez.

“It’s time for Senator Rubio to show leadership and stand up for the  immigrant community, rather than moving the goalposts and threatening this history [sic] opportunity to pass immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship,” said Jimenez in a statement. “He needs to remember the message of the election and the power of Latino and immigrant community voters.  DREAMers and families both in Florida and across the country will be watching closely because we will not accept a bill with out-of-control enforcement or an unattainable path to citizenship,” she added.

Watch Rubio’s interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” below.

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