Rubio Defers His Dream Act

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There are a few reasons Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is giving for why he's abandoning his plans to introduce legislation to ease immigration laws on children. The most obvious, however is that it's really hard to be pro-immigrant in the current Republican Party. Here are the reasons he did cite for giving up one of his signature issues:

  • President Obama made it impossible for him to work on the issue by agreeing with him. Rubio told The Wall Street Journal's Neil King, Jr. Obama's order to stop deportation proceedings against certain younger immigrants "sets back our efforts to arrive at a balanced and responsible approach to this issue. It poisons the well. It leads to mistrust. It makes it harder to come up with a long-term solution."
  • Conservatives are attacking that executive order as an unconstitutional abuse of executive power.  “We have never talked to anyone in the White House about their plans,” he said. “The only thing the White House has ever done about our ideas was to try to get some of the Dream Act kids not work with us.”
  • The messaging would just be really tricky., "People are going to say to me, 'Why are we going to need to do anything on this now? It has been dealt with. We can wait until after the election.'"

The Dream Act, promoted for years primarily by Democrats, would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came here as kids and either went to college or joined the military. It was blocked by Senate Republicans in late 2010. Rubio, a Republican, got some attention when he said three months ago he was going to work on an alternative, but, as the Tampa Bay Times noted, never produced a bill. He considered giving the people covered by the Dream Act special visas without a path to citizenship. The issue is a tough one, Rubio told the National Review's Robert Costa Monday:

"There is a growing sentiment in America about these kids... If you were four years old when your parents brought you here illegally, and you have grown up here your whole life and don’t even speak Spanish, and you are your high school’s valedictorian, you have a lot to contribute to our future. It kind of feels weird to deport you."

Rubio told the National Review that he hadn't talked about his proposal with Romney. He was still working on some details, and, "At this point, we’re reevaluating and seeing how things play out."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.