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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. / Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a leading Republican voice on immigration, suggested Wednesday that major legislation on the issue probably can't be passed while President Obama is in the White House because of questions about his willingness to enforce all the provisions of a new law.

"I don't know if it's going to happen this year; I don't know if it's going to happen with this administration," Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Wall Street Journal. While there is an emerging consensus on key provisions of immigration legislation, the most contentious debate revolves over whether and how to provide a path to legal status for an estimated 11 or 12 million immigrants now in the U.S. illegally.

Reaching an agreement on that will require convincing lawmakers that tightened enforcement, including provisions to track legal visitors and to verify the immigration status of workers, would prevent new immigrants from arriving, he said.

But Rubio cited the IRS scandal, the Benghazi controversy and delays in implementing parts of the Affordable Care Act as "evidence the government, this administration, unilaterally decides which parts of the law to enforce and not enforce. That's the fundamental challenge we face right now."

He added: "It's a real impediment."

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Obama renewed his call for Congress to "fix our broken immigration system." He noted that a bipartisan bill passed the Senate last year - Rubio was a crucial negotiator in reaching a deal - but didn't reach a vote in the House of Representatives. "Let's get immigration reform done this year," Obama declared. "Let's get it done. It's time."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Rubio: Congress may wait out Obama on immigration bill

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