Marco Rubio reconsidering alternative DREAM Act
President Obama’s new policy on deportations has caused Rubio to reconsider his plan.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is reconsidering moving ahead with his alternative DREAM Act proposal in the wake of President Obama’s decision to halt deportations for certain undocumented youth.
[A Rubio] aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the senator is re-evaluating a path forward after the president announced Friday that some young undocumented immigrants will no longer be deported if they meet certain requirements, which largely align with the Dream Act. Rubio had planned to introduce a bill that would grant temporary legal status to many of the same undocumented immigrants, and, like the Obama administration, would give only temporary relief from deportation without a special pathway to citizenship.
CBS first reported on Friday that Rubio was reconsidering his plan for the legislation. The Rubio aide confirmed to HuffPost that the senator may not introduce his bill because he believes the politics are now more difficult.
The aide added that the announcement has taken some urgency out of the need for legislation to help young undocumented immigrants.
Though some have raised questions about the temporary nature of Obama’s policy change, this report underscores its political savvy.
Rubio’s effort to draft an alternative DREAM Act had earned him positive headlines and a golden opportunity for Republicans to put Obama on the defensive on immigration; an April 2 Washington Post story proclaimed that “Marco Rubio’s alternative DREAM Act a challenge for Obama on illegal immigration.”
“The plan puts Obama in a box. Democrats are reluctant to see Rubio’s efforts as anything other than a political gambit to repair his party’s tarnished image with Hispanics and boost his own profile as a potential vice-presidential pick or future White House contender,” wrote the Post’s Peter Wallsten. “But if Obama does not at least try to work with Rubio, he could risk losing a centerpiece of his appeal to Hispanic voters — that he is their fiercest ally in Washington and that the GOP is to blame for lack of action on fixing the country’s immigration ills.”
By taking executive action, Obama essentially co-opted Rubio’s proposal and virtually erased the possibility of being boxed in before November. It’s important to note that Rubio, who criticized Obama for circumventing Congress, hasn’t actually decided to scrap his proposal. But Obama’s move looms as a political disappointment for the senator who is looking to raise his national profile.
(Photo: Flickr, Gage Skidmore)