But over the past few months, he has grown into the leader for the bipartisan Senate group that developed the immigration bill that includes this very provision, and that has made many tea party members extremely unhappy.
Rubio at this moment quickly became seen as a "back-stabber," a "liar" and a "flip-flopper" as other party members began to denounce his support for immigration overhaul.
The Florida Senator recently spoke at a meeting of the Senate's tea party caucus, speeding passed immigration, and devoting the rest of his time to discussing the hopes of repealing the health law.
Could Rubio be hoping to win back the support of his party? It appears so. But whether or not the tea party will decide not to abandon him is another question.