Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio moves closer to Dream Act alternative



Sen. Marco Rubio opposes the Dream Act, but he's has become increasingly vocal about finding a way to accommodate undocumented youths. He implied today that he's working on something behind the scenes.

In a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera, Rubio cited Daniela Pelaez, a high school valedictorian in Miami who faced deportation but got a two-year reprieve after publicity about the case. Rubio said there should be a way to grant legal status to people like her (and those who serve in the military). He added that while he was letting others in Congress already working on the issue take the lead, he was trying to build "consensus."

We followed up with Rubio's office. "Sorry, nothing to announce yet. He's continuing to talk with his colleagues about the issue," spokesman Alex Conant said.

Rivera asked Rubio why he didn't support the Dream Act and help "the innocent kids." The legislation would create a path to citizenship, which does too far for some Republicans but not all, including some members of Congress from Miami. Rubio said it's akin to a "doctor saying you have a certain problem and so here’s the medicine we're going to give you. I think it’s the wrong medicine." He said it would foster "chain migration" in which the new citizens act as anchors for family in other countries.

"It could be expanded to millions of people, which is problematic," Rubio said.

Then Rubio cited the Palaez case and Rivera pressed if he would lead the effort for an alternative. Referring to colleagues in Congress, Rubio said, "They’ve been working on this for a while so I’ll wait for them to make their public pronouncements about what they are working on, or what they are trying to put together. But it’s also something we’re trying to build consensus around."

Rivera asked Rubio about Rick Santorum's declaration that English should be the official language of Puerto Rico if it wants to become a state. Rubio noted that it already is, along with Spanish, which remains predominate.

"Anyone who travels there will find the vast majority of young people speak (English)," Rubio said. "It’s taught in the schools. It’s not that big of a challenge. It’s not."

As a Senate candidate in 2010, Rubio said he supported a move to make English the official U.S. language, going against rivals Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist.

Then came this exchange:

GERALDO: "Would you accept if Mitt Romney asks?

RUBIO: "No. I’m focused on being here in the senate. This is what I wanted to do."

GERALDO: "But would you reject, would you refuse"

RUBIO: "It doesn’t work that way. We’ve made it pretty clear this is not a process we want to be a part of. We’re focused on getting some things done here in the Senate."

GERALDO: "You don’t want to be vice president?"

RUBIO: "Not now, no."

GERALDO: "When?"

RUBIO: "Well, I don’t know if ever. But certainly not now. You’re asking me about today. I do not, no."

GERALDO: "So tomorrow, you mean like June, July?

RUBIO: (laughs) "I mean not in the immediate future. But very good, good try."

Rivera should have asked: Do you want to be president?

[Last modified: Thursday, March 15, 2012 4:10pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours