Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Rubio Immigration Stance Contradiction to his Past

The fact that he is a son of immigrants himself isn’t deterring Florida Senator Marco Rubio from taking a harsh stance on the issue of immigration.

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said in a recent interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo that he would vote against the DREAM Act, which was reintroduced in both the House and Senate earlier this month.  He has also said he is against any form of amnesty and stated his support for Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070.

Critics accuse Rubio, who as a state lawmaker introduced legislation to help undocumented students attend college, of changing his tune on immigration for his own political advancement now that he’s a player on the national stage and viewed as a potential vice presidential candidate for the GOP in 2012.

“There’s a Benedict Arnold feeling,” said Jorge Mursuli, an immigration advocate and executive director of Democracia, a Hispanic civic engagement group in Miami. “Having known him, his political career and knowing where he comes from — a hardworking immigrant family — one has to wonder what it is that he’s thinking or how his political ambitions outweigh his life experiences. … It’s not only disappointing; it’s disheartening and, frankly, almost unbelievable.”

While Rubio’s harsh stance on immigration doesn’t seem to be a factor in his popularity among his stronghold of Cuban American voters in Florida, less than half of the non-Cuban Latino voters in the state polled by Latino Decisions on the eve of the November elections said they voted for him.

Compared to the 78 percent of Cuban-Americans who said they would vote for Rubio, only 40 percent of non-Cuban Latinos said they supported him, according to the poll.

Cuban Americans in Congress have historically supported pro-immigration policies and activists have expressed disappointment in Rubio over his position.

“Mel Martinez was one of the Republicans who championed not just comprehensive immigration reform but also the DREAM Act, and this seat has traditionally been the voice of the Republican who understands the issue and does not cater to a radical but, rather, a more sensible element of the party,” said Gaby Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant and DREAM Act activist from Miami.

Former Sen. Mel Martinez, who held Rubio’s seat in the past, Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart all supported the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.

While Rubio is considered one of the GOP’s best chances at courting Latino voters in 2012, his appeal may be diminished in a national election among this voting bloc as result of his harsh stance.

“To be against comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship and against the DREAM Act defines you in the Latino immigrant community as a hard-liner and an enemy of the community,” said Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration advocacy group.



  1. Esther Adames says

    I wonder what polititians like Rubio – an immigrant himself- think will be the future of so many bright Latino students if the Dream Act is not passed? What options do these youngsters have, when they were brought to this country in their early childhood and have nowhere to return to? I believe that if we don’t provide them with some feasible options, the cost will be much greater in the future.
    Maybe we have something to learn from the United Negro College Fund and their classic slogan, that has become part of the American vernacular: “A Mind is a terrible thing to waste”, and do something about our precious youth, which through no fault of their own find themselves straped by politics. A word to Mr. Rubio, who speaks from a point of privilege, history repeats itself! I wonder what position would he have taken if Cuban’s were at risk of loosing their refugee status, and had to face the same laws he is trying to introduce? Be careful what you wish for!