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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio maintains opposition to DREAM Act



Senator-elect Marco Rubio may not have to vote on a controversial immigration bill that could come before Congress in the lame duck session, but said he is opposed to the legislation.

His stance is at odds with other Republican lawmakers from South Florida.

"As I've said before, obviously there are children who are brought here by their parents when they were very young, illegally, but who are high academic achievers or want to serve in the Armed Forces and we should figure out a way to accommodate children in that specific situation," Rubio said in an interview.

"But the DREAM Act, as I have read it, goes well beyond that. It's much broader and is not the right approach to that issue. In fact, it makes having a legal immigration system that works harder to accomplish. I have the same position I had during the campaign."

The DREAM Act — formally known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — would create a path to citizenship for youths brought to the United States illegally. The youths could become eligible for legal residency after attending college or serving in the military for two years.

Many Republicans, including Rubio, have deemed that akin to amnesty.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid first tried to bring it up this year as part of the Defense authorization bill, drawing sparks from Republicans as an election year ploy. Now Reid says he'll present it during the lame duck session as a standalone bill.

That strips away some cover for critics, but Rubio said he remains opposed. He's still in an awkward spot as the measure has gathered support from Hispanics, including some Republicans such as Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Rubio has said that any changes to the immigration system must come after the border is secured.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson supports the legislation; interim Sen. George LeMieux, a Republican, opposes it for similar reasons as Rubio.

[Last modified: Friday, November 19, 2010 11:26am]


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