Rubio puts his alternative DREAM Act on hold
President Obama’s decision to halt deportations for certain undocumented youth forced Rubio’s hand.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio indicated Monday that he would scrap his effort to craft a Republican DREAM Act alternative until after the November election.
Rubio’s decision comes in the wake of President Obama’s announcement last week that his administration would halt deportations of certain undocumented youth, a policy that essentially undercut the GOP senator’s proposal. In multiple interviews Monday, Rubio faulted Obama for derailing his effort, which he had worked on for three months.
“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,’”Rubio told the Wall Street Journal. “And it is going to be hard to argue against that.”
The senator expressed frustration at how the White House rolled out its new administrative directive, saying that he was left in the dark even as he was working on a similar policy. As he did last week, Rubio also criticized the effort as a power grab by President Obama.
“When the president ignores the Congress, ignores the Constitution and forces a policy like this down the throat of the American people, it’s going to make it harder to have a conversation like that,” Rubio told the Miami Herald. “It’s going to make it harder to elevate the debate.”
Rubio also said that Obama’s measure, which grants a two-year reprieve for some undocumented youth seeking a college degree or military service, made it more difficult to seek a long-term solution.
“It poisons the well. It leads to mistrust. It makes it harder to come up with a long-term solution,” he told the Journal.
Rubio’s office had telegraphed over the weekend that it was possible the senator would table his proposal.
The development is no doubt a disappointment for Rubio, who is believed to be among those GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is considering to serve as his running mate.
His proposal — which would have granted legal status, but not a special path to citizenship to “DREAMers” — could have helped the GOP and Romney, soften its image on immigration ahead of the presidential elections.
Though the immigration policy at hand won’t directly affect Latino voters, the tone of larger immigration debate is often a litmus test for whether politicians are friendly to the broader Latino community.
Romney, who adopted a tough stance on immigration during the GOP primary, has struggled to attract Latino voters. But Rubio said that both political parties are to blame for the lack of progress on immigration reform over the past half-decade.
“What troubles me about this debate is there doesn’t seem to be room to reconcile these two positions,” Rubio told the Herald. “That’s what I’m trying to arrive at. That’s what I’m trying to find room for.”