CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. writes Thursday, “I call the GOP approach to the DREAM Act something else: A common-sense solution. It could break a stalemate and improve millions of lives. And it could only be opposed for ugly partisan reasons.” That sentiment is stirring up debate among longtime DREAM Act supporters.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., stirred up the immigration debate last week when he announced a proposal to offer a “conservative-Republican alternative” to the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act, which was first introduced with bipartisan support in Congress 10 years ago, would grant those who entered the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 conditional permanent resident status for a period of six years, after which they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents if they obtain at least an associate-level college degree or serve in the military for two years.
“While [Rubio’s proposal] is not perfect — and no piece of legislation is — it is better than nothing, which is all the critics have been able to offer, even when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House,” Navarrete writes.
The “Republican plan would give undocumented students a path to legal status in exchange for going to college or joining the military,” but “unlike the earlier version, it would not include a path to citizenship,” Navarrete adds.
Mohammad Abdollahi of DREAM Activist writes to The Florida Independent that “as an organization, we are likely to support Rubio and his efforts and, at the end of the day, need some form of relief for our communities and if this is the only thing that stands the chance of passing then we will have to support it. Just like Navarette we firmly blame Democrats for the failure of the traditional version of a dream. They had the opportunity to pass it numerous times but instead choose to milk it a bit more for political gain.”
“Democrats blame Republicans for playing games, but in reality, it is the Democrats who are pushing the traditional version of DREAM with such hype during an election year when we all know it won’t pass,” Abdollahi adds.
Prerna Lal of DREAM Activist writes Thursday: “I realize that the bill is a careful political calculation from the GOP to try to win back some Latino support,” and “I also understand that this entire charade ultimately has to do with the fact that the GOP does not want to grant citizenship to 12 million undocumented immigrants.”
Lal adds: “The GOP is driven by its anti-immigrant and white supremacist fringe, the Democrats are yet to develop a moral compass on immigrant rights but take us for granted nonetheless, our advocates in the non-profit industrial complex keep earning a paycheck due to stalemate on the issue, and undocumented youth continue to serve as a mere political football to be tossed from side to side.”
If unveiled, Rubio’s proposal might find support among DREAM Act-eligible youth, but not from “attrition through enforcement” supporters, including Mitt Romney and his immigration advisor Kris Kobach, as well as immigration restrictionists who this week called it “another variation on amnesty.