THE MARCO WATCH – AT 9:31 A.M. ET: We've run a number of items about Marco Rubio because he seems awfully active for a guy who says he's not interested in being vice president. Clearly, he's on Romney's very short list. The two, as we reported, will soon campaign together.
Now Rubio is making a daring move. He's proposing a conservative alternative to the Democratic Dream Act, designed to address the problem of illegal immigration. He knows it's a risk because there is a militant faction within the GOP that will accept nothing less than deportation of illegals. But it's absurd to think this country will deport 12 million people, and Rubio knows it. His proposal is getting scrutiny. If it gains traction, and pacifies the right, it can put him on the ticket as a great asset on a difficult issue. From The Politico:
Marco Rubio's version of the DREAM Act has spawned a lot of chatter in Spanish-language media, which is playing up the possibility that some children of illegal immigrants could eventually become citizens under his emerging proposal.
But when asked at a briefing Thursday with English-language reporters if his plan would create a pathway to citizenship, Rubio insisted it wouldn't.
"I think the key difference is it doesn't create a special pathway for citizenship and thereby leads to illegal chain migration," he said of the distinctions between his plan and the Democratic DREAM Act. "What it does it only puts them in the same position as any other holder of a non-immigrant visa, which is the opportunity to avail themselves of the existing legal immigration system whatever that system is at that time when they access it."
Democratic leadership aides said Friday that Rubio seemed to be playing up the citizenship piece with Spanish-language press and downplaying it with English-language media.
But Rubio's office on Friday strongly denied that was the case.
Alex Conant, a Rubio spokesman, said Friday that "there is nothing in his proposal that would prevent these kids from eventually becoming citizens. But unlike the current DREAM Act, it does not create special pathway to citizenship. If these kids want to become citizens, they would have to go through the same process as anyone else and wait in line."
COMMENT: I think Rubio is on to something here. His plan looks fair, and, very important, practical. I also think Rubio would add excitement to the ticket. And proposing an immigration plan that can attract widespread backing adds substance. Take the emotional issue of illegal immigration away from Democrats, and the GOP gains considerably.
April 23, 2012