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Rubio: Trump Never 'Gung-Ho on Kicking DREAMers Out' of the Country

John Bolton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — Amid President Trump coming to an agreement with Democratic congressional leaders about saving DREAMers from deportation, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said today that his former presidential primary challenger was never that into deportation in the first place.

Trump said this morning that “everybody’s on board” with “taking care of people, people who were brought here, people who’ve done a good job” — some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who applied for and were accepted into the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty,” he said. “We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”

Rubio, who has worked on comprehensive immigration reform and advocated against pulling the rug out from under DACA beneficiaries, told CNN this morning that he planned on talking with Trump about his agreement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the president visits hurricane-ravaged Florida today.

“Obviously the details of it are important. But a couple weeks ago when the decision was made, I said, look, it would be really important what the president laid out what he would sign and what he wouldn’t to create a sort of guidance for a legislative fix,” he said. “But it’s an issue I hope we will deal with and I believe we can deal with, and if the president is ready to announce the parameters of what he’s willing to be supportive of, that will be a big step forward in achieving that.”

Rubio noted that “border security is the fundamental responsibility of the government, and a wall is a part of that.” Trump emphasized today that “the wall will come later.”

“It’s not the only part of it, but a significant percentage of people in this country illegally don’t cross the border. They come in on a visa,” the senator added. “So you have got to deal with that. And I think a broken legal immigration system contributes to it as well.”

“And as far as DACA is concerned, I don’t think the president has ever said he wanted to round up and deport young people educated in this country, brought here as children. I think he has consistently over a period of time expressed his desire to do something with them differently than perhaps what some people perceived. So now he’s going to have to do it in a way he assures this never happens again and we’re not incentivizing people to do this in the future, but I never gotten the feeling from the president that he was gung-ho on kicking DREAMers out of the United States. I’ve gotten the opposite.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNN this morning that it looks like Trump is “preparing to keep Hillary Clinton’s promise rather than his own.”

“I think something is going to have to get reversed here with this president’s policy or it will just blow up his base. I mean this was a straight up promise all the way through his campaign,” King said. “And I might add that I’ve told the president that I market-tested his immigration policy for 14 years and we spent a lot of time in Iowa having those debates and discussions and then across New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.”

King said he sat down with John Kelly when the White House chief of staff was still Homeland Security secretary but “didn’t get insight into the wall” and is still “trying to identify who President Trump’s individual or individuals are who actually have a plan and a strategy that they can explain to me.”

“There is no commander of the wall,” he added. “And I don’t know how it gets done if you’re going to trust a committee that’s just not cohesive and don’t seem to know what each other are doing.”