Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is making good on his proposal to work on an alternative DREAM Act. Yesterday he met with congressional Democrats Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Texas Rep. Charles Gonzalez for conversations about an alternative to the bill, the Huffington Post reported.
Rubio’s plan would likely gut the key relief that the DREAM Act offers undocumented youth who’ve been raised in the U.S.: a chance at eventual U.S. citizenship. It’s been rumored that Rubio’s alternative plan would grant a set of undocumented immigrant youth who clear a host of hurdles some kind of legal status without affording them a chance at becoming citizens someday.
Rubio’s not just trying to get Democrats onboard. He’s also reached out to immigrant youth themselves.
From the Washington Post:
Gaby Pacheco, a vocal immigrant activist, accepted a tantalizing invitation last week from an unlikely source: Republican Sen. Marco Rubio wanted her to help craft a bill that could legalize the children of some illegal immigrants.
Two hours later, Pacheco and other activists got a different pitch from their more familiar White House allies. Be wary of Rubio and his plan, two of President Obama’s top advisers told them in a meeting. It wouldn’t go far enough and wasn’t likely to succeed.
The group was polite but noncommittal. “We’re not married to the Democratic or Republican parties,” said Pacheco, 27. “We’re going to push what’s best for the community.”
The DREAM Act has been around for ten years and came the closest it ever did to passing in 2010 when the House cleared it in an historic vote. Yet the legislative language, and the bill’s political prospects, have dimmed in the virulent anti-immigrant climate, and many immigrants who were once youth when the DREAM Act was first introduced in 2011 are today adults. A win of any kind is long overdue. It may just be that Rubio’s ambitions and the immigrant community’s desperation can help both sides find common ground.