Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., thinks a new bill implementing a merit-based point system for foreigners seeking legal permanent status will never pass the Senate, even though it has President Trump's backing.
"That bill's not going to pass," told CBS 4 in an interview Sunday. "I think the White House knows that you don't have 60 votes for that in the Senate."
Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced the bill, called the RAISE Act, last week, when Trump announced his support for the plan. The bill implements a skills-based immigration system that awards points to prospective immigrants based on criteria such as education, fluency in English, age and whether the person has a job offer.
Despite Trump's endorsement, the bill faces hurdles in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed for it to overcome a legislative filibuster. Because Republicans control 52 seats, eight Democrats would need to come out in support of the RAISE Act.
Already, though, Democrats and even some Republicans have announced their opposition the bill.
Rubio said the plan was similar to the Gang of Eight immigration bill he worked on in the Senate and acknowledged he supports moving to a merit-based immigration system.
"It actually has elements of it that were part of the 2013 proposal," Rubio said. "In 2013, the very controversial Gang of Eight, four Democrats and four Republicans, proposed moving legal immigration toward a merit-based system."
But the Florida senator stopped short of endorsing the RAISE Act and said he disagrees with the cuts the bill makes to the number of legal immigrants who enter the U.S.
"I don't want to limit legal immigration. I certainly want to change the way we conduct it," Rubio said. "...Where I probably have a big difference of opinion with this bill is that it sets an arbitrary cap on the number of people that are able to come through with a green card. I don't think that should be an arbitrary cap. That number should be driven by demand."