The immigration debate — comprehensive immigration reform versus just immigration enforcement — is a difficult one, even for Miami Republican and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

The Miami Herald reports:

A crack is forming in U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s tea party.

Conservative activists — still raw over what they say was his role in blocking illegal immigration legislation while speaker of the Florida House — say the burgeoning Republican star needs to deliver on campaign rhetoric for tougher enforcement.

Rubio has stayed on track with the GOP message about heightening security on the Mexican border, remaining opposed to the DREAM Act and supporting E-Verfiy.

But the Herald says that’s not enough for many supporters. Rubio’s tea party advocates note that immigration is not even posted on his website, saying that he can’t have it both ways. The Herald writes that Rubio “is being torn in opposite directions by his base: Washington’s Republican elite and Florida’s grass-roots activists who propelled him into office.”

Alfonso Aguilar, director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, tells the Herald the Republican senator “would be the ideal person to say ‘I am a strong conservative and I want to work on immigration.’ But right now he’s not leading on the issue and he’s not clear. That’s a problem.”

For the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, immigration solutions (.pdf) should include a temporary work status, no amnesty, worker background checks and mandatory E-Verify, the federal program that verifies if a worker is authorized to work in the U.S.

But for Somos Republicans, a Latino convervative organization, Rubio is not offering solutions to immigration challenges.

In press release issued last week, Somos Republicans stated:

We believe we have to address Rubio’s recent remarks because he made it very clear that he has opposed the DREAM Act and he also believes Washington needs to stem the flow of illegal immigration through tougher border security and electronic workplace verification before figuring out what to do with those already here.

We believe the problem with implementing more tougher border security and national e-verify is not a reasonable solution because enforcement only policies are fundamentally disconnected with the economic realities we live in.

Somos Republicans also proposes an initiative, its 12 Steps to Securing our Borders and Legal Immigration, to fix what many groups, organizations and politicians have called the United States’ broken immigration system.

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