This week the Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio invited Daniela Palaez, a Miami high school valedictorian who’s quickly become a national face for the DREAM Act, to Washington D.C., and later said he still opposes the DREAM Act. Palaez and her sister Dayana were facing removal to Colombia, but won a two-year reprieve on their deportation order after their principal, local superintendent, thousands of fellow students, as well as Florida lawmakers from both parties lobbied to keep them in the country.
Palaez would benefit from the DREAM Act, a federal bill which would allow undocumented youth without a clear criminal record to eventually gain citizenship after clearing a host of hurdles. It’s not only a consensus issue for Latinos in the country. It’s a bill that’s garnered widespread bipartisan support. During the 2010 vote on the DREAM Act, Florida Republicans and Latino lawmakers, Reps. Iliana Ros-Lehtinen, and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, voted for the bill. Both have been vocal supporters of the DREAM Act, and Ros-Lehtinen sent an appeal to help stop the Palaez sisters’ deportation.
Not Rubio, who called the bill “the wrong way to do the right thing,” Fox News Latino reported.
“Instead, my hope is to come up with a bi-partisan solution to this problem,” Rubio told Fox News. “One that does not reward or encourage illegal immigration by granting amnesty, but helps accommodate talented young people like Daniela, who find themselves undocumented through no fault of their own.”
As New York University professor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco told the outlet: “It’s not clear to me what the senator means. This is not rocket science, there aren’t too many factors here at work. Either you’re going to pursue a DREAM Act-like solution, or you’re going to pursue comprehensive immigration reform or you’re going to let the status quo win the day.”
Rubio didn’t outline exactly what his plan would be.