Could a modified Dream Act pass GOP muster in an election year?

Many students around the country have marched for the Dream Act, which remains in limbo. (AP Photo)

Many students around the country have marched for the Dream Act, which remains in limbo. (AP Photo)

A modified version of the Dream Act is being pushed by a Republican senator from Florida who’s been mentioned as a possible candidate for vice president. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to break the logjam around the controversial legislation that would give children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

The bill faces resistance from the GOP, but it is an election year and the Hispanic vote may be critical.

According to The New York Times:

The compromise would grant students who are the children of illegal immigrants a new kind of nonimmigrant visa that would let them live in this country legally for a period of time. They could work, drive and pay taxes. He would also grant nonimmigrant visas to the graduates of colleges and trade schools, enabling them to stay here and work.

The proposal would not grant them green cards, giving them permanent residency, which sets it apart from the original Dream Act. With their nonimmigrant visas, they could seek green cards in the traditional way, either through marriage, family or an employer. But they could remain in this country legally during that process.

Left with few options, many students and activists said that they were open to Mr. Rubio’s compromise but that they would wait to see the complete bill. Gaby Pacheco, an immigrant activist for United We Dream, who recently met with Senator Rubio, said the students were tired of waiting for Congress and wanted to break the logjam. She said Mr. Rubio was taking a serious approach to the problem. “We need a starting point,” she said “Right now with the way the country is so polarized and anti-immigrant, if a Republican starts talking about it and is able to bring his party into the dialogue, we need to listen to that and give them the opportunity.”

Mr. Rubio said that he was still working on the details and that he hoped to introduce a bill once he had lined up enough support. The Dream Act passed the House in 2010 but failed in the Senate. Last year, Senator Richard J. Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who sponsored the bill, modified it to address some Republican concerns, but it has not attracted much party support.

Most Republicans view the bill as a form of “amnesty” to people who have broken the law and as a lure to undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Rubio, a potential vice-presidential contender and a Florida Cuban-American, said he was working to garner support from fellow conservatives. The issue is important to many Hispanics in the country, a group of swing voters that has largely decried Mitt Romney’s position on how to handle illegal immigrants. “I am cautiously optimistic that we are going to have very significant support among Republicans,” Mr. Rubio said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

29 comments Add your comment

oldtimer

April 27th, 2012
10:35 am

I think it is a great idea……compromise…don’t ya just like it.

Howard Finkelstein

April 27th, 2012
10:36 am

It wont work. Visas have been granted to foreigners for years and once expired these same foreigners do nothing except b!tch and moan when caught.

The solution is to get em out.

Van Jones

April 27th, 2012
10:45 am

I don’t see how offering children of illegals the ability to stay here and work is anything but a lure to keep them coming… illegally. Maybe it’s not as enticing as the original Dream Act but it’s still very enticing.

A question: Why is this issue important to many Hispanics in the country? It’s obvious why it would be important to illegals but I would think a legal Hispanic would value this country over the desires of someone they have no connection to other than race.

Shark Punch!

April 27th, 2012
10:56 am

Waiting for the same conservatives who lambasted the original Dream Act as a political ploy on the part of Obama to fawn over more-or-less the same idea now that it’s put forth by their darling Marco Rubio.

And before said conservatives try to put words in my mouth, I think this is a good compromise on the part of Senator Rubio.

Ron F.

April 27th, 2012
10:56 am

If Romney hopes to improve numbers among registered Hispanic voters, he needs to talk this up and get it passed. If not, he won’t get much, if any, of that voting bloc, and he knows it. Tough quandry for someone who’s having to play far-right when everyone knows he’s a moderate.

Ron F.

April 27th, 2012
10:58 am

Shark- very smart for Rubio to champion this if it passes. If the House rejects it, Rubio take a little hit. In the long run, he’ll be much better off politically for supporting it.

Not Blind

April 27th, 2012
10:59 am

@ Van Jones. Due to the hijacking of the 14th Amendment huge numbers of hispanic American citizens are children of illegal aliens [ aka, anchor babies although they could have been born in the 60's. ]. For these citizens a path towards legalization of their parents, close relatives, friends, etc is very important.

liberalefty

April 27th, 2012
12:06 pm

this wont pass the! GOP is too racist

williebkind

April 27th, 2012
12:07 pm

What jobs are these nonimmigrants going to have? They are not farm workers! Hey give them a job at the AJC as journalists. Anybody could do that job as long as they have a degee.

williebkind

April 27th, 2012
12:09 pm

“•#edchat: A UGA grad student says Emmett and Trayvon are common core stories that should be told in class/ http://t.co/TPiaisnc

See what I mean, only a liberal college graduated can compare Emmett and Trayvon!

John Birch

April 27th, 2012
12:37 pm

Firt of all, illegal immigrant is a contradiction in terms. My father and grandparents entered this country llegaly through the immigration process. The people this article refers to are illegal aliens. Calling them immigrants is a disgrace and an insult to my relatives and the millions like them who obeyed the law.

Joke on us

April 27th, 2012
1:12 pm

talked to several folks and gave some good ideas

4×4 plan

students in school get an education visa to finish through high school upon graduation they have two choices

4 years college–graduate from an American college and path to citizenship

4 years of no criminal record and working leads to another 4 years of montioring work then citizenship

Tyrone

April 27th, 2012
1:19 pm

Here is my dream…come to America LEGALLY.

Left wing wack job living on food stamps and unemployment

April 27th, 2012
1:22 pm

Let’s let everyone in that votes for democrats.
Somebody has got to pay for my benefits.

oldtimer

April 27th, 2012
1:25 pm

There has to be a way for those brought here as children, educated here, to become productive citizens. Send back people who commit crimes…..don’t work, etc.

GwinnettParentz

April 27th, 2012
2:09 pm

Purposely lumping ILLEGAL immigrants with LEGAL immigrants has been a mean-spirited strategy of open-borders advocates from the start. Hence, we get the absurd statement (above article) that Republicans are “anti-immigrant” for not supporting another illegals amnesty.

Arizona’s law regarding illegals made it to the Supreme Court this week, with polls showing two-thirds of Americans supporting Arizona’s approach. A similar majority support expanded use of the federal E-Verify system to make it harder for illegals to steal jobs—including decent paying ones in the construction, transportation and service industries.

Meanwhile, state laws such as Arizona’s (and now Georgia’s) plus a struggling U.S. economy seem to have begun to accomplish the exit of illegals Gov. Romney predicted.

hryder

April 27th, 2012
3:36 pm

The last time citizens were told there would never be another amnesty of or in any form for illegal aliens. There should not be any amnesty. Our borders should be sealed to prevent illegals. Children born in the United States of illegal alien parents should not be granted citizenship and should be deported with their illegal parents, nor should any person born in the US of parents other than citizens be automatically granted citizenship. WHAT DO THOSE WHO ARE NONLOGICAL THINKERS BELIEVE ILLEGAL MEANS? Additionally, I lived in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico for twenty-four years. Many friends and acquaintances are/were LEGAL immigrants who became citizens or were in the process of gaining citizenship. All but four of well over a hundred with whom I discussed the matter stated that aliens should have to go through the identical legal process of which they did to become a citizen of the United States. They also indicated that illegals and their children should be identified and deported. Additionally, most of the protesters seen on TV news demanding some kind of amnesty would not be in the country to protest if immigration laws were enforced due to them being illegals or the children of illegals.

Robert

April 27th, 2012
4:00 pm

Who is paying to educate the illegals right now? Property owners are being forced to, against their collective will through their property taxes. How is that even legal? Now, we are going to open the flood gates by offering subsidized post high school college education, grants and loans? REALLY? Why don’t we wait until we can provide every American an affordable college education. And, in terms of amnesty, let’s start with Americans, first. Anyone in jail or prison for fraud and tax evasion, should be forgiven and released, before we blindly forgive the parents of the illegal alien children, who will be applying for the Dream Act, or conversely we should imprison the parents of children who apply for the Dream Act. What are the chances those parents didn’t break laws nearly every single their children were being educated in American schools, through the years?

larry.333

April 27th, 2012
4:35 pm

What has Rubio accomplished in order to be VP?? Mitt Romney needs a MILITARY VETERAN TO RUN AS VP!
When you look at Rubio, you are looking at Obama!

Maureen Downey

April 27th, 2012
4:37 pm

@larry, Not sure it is what vice presidential candidates have accomplished but what voters they can bring to the party.
Maureen

Grob Hahn

April 27th, 2012
6:38 pm

How is this handled South of the border? How does Mexico deal with people who enter illegally? Do they provide a free college education? Citizenship? Food stamps?

NO. Only the US is expected to take in all comers and reward them.
Grobbbbbbbbbb

Fericita

April 27th, 2012
6:55 pm

So children should be punished for the sins of their parents? How is that the American dream?

We should be doing everything possible to pave the way for citizenship, or at least legal residence, for these kids/young adults. Bilingual/bicultural college grads can only help our country!

Robert

April 27th, 2012
9:18 pm

Fericita,

We already have enough bilingual college grads. They are out there looking for work, even as I type this message to you. Hire a Puerto Rican, if you need a Spanish/English speaking worker. Their unemployment rate is extremely high.

We have an employment problem in this country, perhaps you haven’t heard. Americans are looking for work. Once they all have jobs, may be then we can get to your pet project.

Reality Check

April 28th, 2012
4:14 am

No amnesty of any kind.

Lee

April 28th, 2012
12:04 pm

If you have a piece of meat stinking up the refrigerator, the solution is to throw the meat out – not spray it with Febreeze.

Likewise, the solution is to keep the illegal alien invaders out of our country in the first place. And then, when you do find them, kick them out. But yet, our politicians order law enforcement to ignore them and now they are in our country, the same politicians want to provide them with an education.

Meanwhile, AMERICANS are out of work, many cannot afford to send their own kids to college, have seen the value of their 401k and houses sink like a rock, and now must pay for some illegal alien on welfare kid to go to school.

Is this a great country or what?

Our forefathers would be shooting by now…

GAprof

April 28th, 2012
1:31 pm

This will be interesting. I can only imagine what Jesus would say here. If I had been born in Mexico, I would do anything to help my family, including sneaking into the US to work. People in South are some of the least traveled in the country, which leads cultural and social ignorance. Travel the world, then tell me you want to turn your back on your fellow man over you 401k.

GwinnettParentz

April 28th, 2012
4:02 pm

@GAprof. How can you so coldly ignore the fact that illegal immigrants steal jobs that unemployed Americans (and legal immigrants) so desperately need?

Jobs with decent pay and benefits: in construction especially, but also in transportation and other services, etc.

And now the latest immigration scam is sneaking minors across the southern border. Once here, they are able to exploit special “compassion” rules that allow them to stay and act as “anchors” for other family members to LEGALLY enter the country. Under the guise of “family reunification.”

And to claim even more jobs.

Robert

April 29th, 2012
9:04 am

Correction:
Who is paying to educate the illegals right now? Property owners are being forced to, against their collective will through their property taxes. How is that even legal? Now, we are going to open the flood gates by offering subsidized post high school college education, grants and loans? REALLY? Why don’t we wait until we can provide every American an affordable college education. And, in terms of amnesty, let’s start with Americans, first. Anyone in jail or prison for fraud and tax evasion, should be forgiven and released, before we blindly forgive the parents of the illegal alien children, who will be applying for the Dream Act, or conversely we should imprison the parents of children who apply for the Dream Act. What are the chances those parents didn’t break laws nearly every single [DAY] their children were being educated in American schools, through the years?

[...] The federal Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for students like Colotl who were brought to America as children, remains in political limbo. [...]