by Javier ManjarresBefore Senator Marco Rubio had announced his candidacy for the 2010 U.S. Senate race, well-informed sources told Rubio that the issue of illegal immigration would be the issue that Rubio could take the national lead on and set the narrative against the prevailing winds of those who favored a blanket amnesty solution for illegal immigrants.
During his senatorial campaign, Rubio took a hardline approach on illegal immigration and has not wavered on it since, stirring up pro-Amnesty organizations to organize their protests outside Rubio’s offices and speaking engagements. Rubio’s ‘legal immigration’ approach has even received the attention of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“He changed his mind on [tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants] because he was so focused on pandering to the Tea Party that he abandoned some core principles,” she told the Daily Beast. Of Rubio, she also said he’s “out of step with the Hispanic community. On immigration he’s got views that are just offensive.” –DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
While Rubio has held fast his campaign pledges by backing legislation that beefs up border security and implements e-Verify, some people still believe that Rubio has softened his tone on illegal immigration reform by emphasizing that Republicans need to talk more about their support for legal immigration- this approach has some of Rubio’s supporters waiting on bated breath to see whether Rubio will buckle under pressure and pander to the pro-amnesty wing of the immigration issue or stand his ground.
Rubio is now in the process of conceptualizing his own conservative ‘Dream Act’ bill that would allow children brought to this country, as Rubio would say, “at no fault of their own,” to be able to legally stay and study in the country, and afterwards, work in the country legally.The New York Times has even taken issue with Rubio’s ‘Dream Act’ bill calling it, “the Dream act without the dream.”
In a recent phone interview with the Miami Herald, Rubio was asked a series of questions regarding this matter, but none were more poignant than the question that is at the core of the Dream Act- the provision pertaining to military service-
So they could go to school or into the military?
“Or start working when they graduate from school while they’re waiting in line for their green card. And it may take awhile. But that’s not a function of this bill, that’s a function of this broken immigration system, which I’ve long said needs to be modernized.”What Rubio is saying is that these students would be able to serve in the military, a measure that could turn out to be problematic with supporters that could perceive this to be a move towards amnesty, since a plethora of questions will be raised , including how long they would have to serve in order to receive citizenship.
Rubio believes in a military option for these kids, and to his credit, so does the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney.
But the question remains- once these illegal immigrants become citizens by virtue of their military service, will they be allowed to immediately request the rest of their families? Rubio has been pounding the point that he is completely against chain migration, further bolstering the case for a possible bill which would calm the doubts among those who constitute his base of support.
But Rubio’s ‘conceptualized bill’ seems as if it will attempt to strike a balance, as it would allow these kids to stay in the country but not allow them to instantly become U.S. Citizens or even Resident Aliens.
The question remains- just how strong will the language be in the actual bill when it’s finally codified? Word is that the bill could include a measure that would not allow these kids to legally request family members but still be afford them the same rights and privileges that the Dream Act calls for. In addition, unlike the Dream Act, Rubio’s bill would surely ‘not’ grant immediate residency status, but will allow these kids the opportunity to get in the legal immigration line like everyone else who applies for residency to the United States.Rubio has consistently said that the legal immigration system needs to overhauled and modernized, and that a guest worker program needs to be implemented once the border issue is resolved.
If a bill like the one Rubio is talking about is ultimately introduced and later signed into law, would it open a back door that in essence would piecemeal amnesty and lead to future immigration litigation? Rubio is surely aware of all the legal ramifications that could result from any legislation that is introduced. But such a bill could also open up a dialogue on immigration reform that paves the way for future pro-amnesty legislation to be considered, regardless of how large or small that door is cracked.
The Democrat Party and the ‘Dream Act-ors’ have consistently bashed Republicans for not wanting to do more for the kids who are products of illegal immigration. So will these people now back Rubio’s efforts to help further the education of the children of illegal immigrants, or has their little Dream Act song-n-dance routine just been one big political move solely aimed at politicizing the issue in an attempt to increase Latino voting rolls for the Democratic Party?
Let Senator Rubio know what you think. Take the poll and share.