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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio seems open to concept of military-only 'Dream Act'



Sen. Marco Rubio appears open -- or at least says most Americans are -- to the idea of granting legal status to immigrants who serve in the military. But he was hesitant to fully commit and listed potential downsides.

The concept has been pushed by Newt Gingrich and later embraced by Mitt Romney, a slight shift in Romney's harder stance on immigration. U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, recently introduced a bill that would grant a path to citizenship for those who served in the military, excluding college graduates. The Dream Act includes college students.

"To be quite frank, I haven't read his bill," Rubio said when asked about Rivera. "I think the goal is to help young people that serve in the military and I think the vast majority of Americans will tell you that if you in the U.S. military that that should get you at least the ability to get some documentation to be in this county. How his specific bill works, I don't want to comment because I haven't read it."

But in the broad sense? "I think the broad sense is," he began then added, "but the devil's always in the details on these issues. There are a lot of questions about how the bill applies. ... Let me just just say that I think the vast majority of Americans would like to accommodate young people who are willing to serve in the U.S. military, were brought here at a very young age and now don't have documents. But if it leads to chain migration, you're going to have problems."

Rubio noted that Gingrich and Romney have said they support the military-only concept. Rubio has drawn criticism for his opposition to the Dream Act and tomorrow at CPAC, a Hispanic activist group is planning a protest.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 6:32pm]


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