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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Dreamers' in Florida get some relief as Trump focuses on other immigration issues


The Associated Press




UPDATE from Rubio: “My sense is the White House is going to have to come up with a way forward, and we’re going to wait to see what their ideas are, and then we’ll try to mold it and see what happens then. But my sense is they’re being thoughtful about how to craft this in a way that’s responsible.”

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of thousands of immigrant “Dreamers” feel relief this week after the Trump administration indicated it will not try to deport them and instead seek a legislative solution.

Nationally, more than 750,000 immigrants brought to the country by their parents as children have received DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Of those more than 30,300 are from Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio was working on Dreamer legislation in 2012 but never got it rolling, and Obama stepped in with an executive order. That incensed conservatives and Trump had vowed to get rid of it, though now as president, he has backed down from an immediate threat.

Aides say Trump's focus is on deporting serious lawbreakers and building the wall. He wants Congress to take up legislation for Dreamers.

“Ultimately the executive order is unconstitutional and has to be replaced, ideally by a legislative measure that happens in conjunction with some other measures that ensure that our immigration laws are being enforced and we never find ourselves in this position again,” Rubio told reporters Monday.

Rubio doesn’t think the Dreamers should be deported, citing “broad consensus” they should stay, having been brought as children illegallly by adults. “But it has to be done in a way that does not create an incentive for others to do that in the future,” he said. “And that’s always been the challenge with that issue.”

It remains to be seen whether Rubio will get involved in the legislative effort. He declined to comment in December when Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was preparing a bill. (The Wall Street Journal reported today that Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has been talking with members of both parties on an attempted overhal of immigration pollicy.)

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald on Monday he is “glad” Trump is focusing on criminals and said he is “willing and ready to work with the administration on fixing our dysfunctional immigration system.”

Sen. Bill Nelson devoted a floor speech in December to Dreamers.

“I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. The DREAMers are our neighbors, they're our friends,” Nelson said. “They are our high school valedictorians, and they are our veterans. They were brought to this country before they ever even knew of the significance of their trip, and they have benefited our communities greatly.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 11:06am]


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