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Rubio, Trump Go After Each Other in Fierce Exchange Over Immigration Policy

• February 25, 2016 9:04 pm

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Marco Rubio slammed Donald Trump for his history of flip-flops on immigration and for hiring more than a thousand foreign workers Thursday at the CNN Republican debate.

Many of Trump’s positions on immigration are "new to him," Rubio said, and pointed to Trump’s past advocacy of a pathway to citizenship as well as his rejection of self-deportation, a policy he now supports.

"In 2011, he talked about the need for a pathway to citizenship. In 2012, Donald criticized Mitt Romney, saying that Mitt lost his election because of self-deportation," Rubio said.

Trump said that he supports self-deportation today, but that he defines it as "people … leav[ing] as soon as they see others going out."

"Self-deportation, as I really define it, and that's the way I define it, is you're going to get some to go, and the rest are going to go out," Trump said. He said he criticized Romney for losing, not for his stance on self-deportation.

"I criticize Mitt Romney for losing the election. He should have won that election," Trump said.

Rubio then attacked Trump for hiring "over a thousand" foreign workers while presenting himself as a defender of jobs for Americans on the campaign trail.

"You’ve hired a significant number of people from other countries to take jobs that Americans could have filled," Rubio said. "He hired [illegal] workers from Poland and he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment."

In response, Trump trumpeted his businessman attributes by attacking Rubio for never hiring anyone.

"I’ve hired tens of thousands of people over my job. You've hired nobody," Trump said.

He also defended his foreign hires by saying that it was "the up season" in Florida and that it was tough to find American workers.

"They were part-time jobs," Trump said. "Very seasonal."