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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 19th, 2013
06:10 PM ET

Sen. Marco Rubio: No "special pathway" to citizenship

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is the Republican party's point person on immigration reform. But his idea for a pathway to citizenship is nuanced, to say the least.

"What I've never been for is a special pathway to citizenship," said Rubio.

Fellow Florida Republican Jeb Bush said a few weeks ago that immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally should be barred from a pathway to citizenship, but he could support such a pathway if it is proposed by lawmakers this year. Bush was promoting a book at the time, and later told "The Washington Post" that while he was working on the book, Rubio were not for a path to citizenship.

"I'm saying that all we do is that we allow people to earn, to basically apply for and, if they qualify, receive a legal status. And then at some point in the future, when some time has elapsed and the security measures are in place, then the only thing people would get is the opportunity to apply for a green card," said Rubio.

The Florida senator's idea for a pathway to citizenship got a boost from a potential 2016 rival today.

"Let's start that conversation by acknowledging we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants. If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Tex., announced.

Rubio says Rand Paul's stance is a good development.

"There's a growing consensus that something needs to be done about immigration, but it needs to be done in a way that's responsible," said Rubio.

For more of our interview with Sen. Marco Rubio, click on the video above.

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