The Associated Press
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., picks up the gavel after a sound check on the main stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The GOP can't be "simply the anti-illegal immigration party," says Marco Rubio, a Latino Republican with a prominent role at the national convention.

The Florida senator says Republicans should embrace and improve the legal immigration system and also come up with a balanced approach to the problem of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

"We're not going to give amnesty to 12 million people. We are not going to round up and deport 12 million people. Somewhere between those two ideas is a solution," Rubio told reporters Wednesday. "But we're never going to get there as long as this is a heavy politicized issue that both parties use to attack each other on to raise money and win elections."

Rubio, considered an up-and-comer in the party, was chosen to formally introduce Mitt Romney before he accepts the presidential nomination Thursday night.

— Gary Fineout


EDITOR'S NOTE — Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.