With concerns over the Trump administration stripping legal status from Dreamers, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sen. Lindsey Graham is working on legislation to provide that protection.
The group does not include Sen. Marco Rubio, who had gained widespread attention years ago for proposing legislation aimed at young immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents.
Rubio’s office declined comment.
Rubio’s legislation was never filed and President Obama followed through with his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, which has shielded more than 740,000 Dreamers, including more than 20,000 in Florida.
President-elect Donald Trump has talked about rescinding the program. Rubio criticized Obama's executive action, too, but has said the legal status already granted should not be retroactively removed.
“My recommendation would be that there are people that have already availed themselves of that, and that there's a period of time for that,” he said last week on Meet The Press. “I would not retroactively remove their status. I would say that, from some point forward, people will not be allowed to apply for renewal for that status. And that will give us a defined period of time to work through this, beginning with border security and modernization of the legal immigration system.”
It’s unclear whether Rubio, who has been singed by the immigration debate, plans to get involved in legislative efforts.
The plan discussed by Graham, as reported by Politico, “would apply just to the immigrants who had been approved under the 2012 directive from Obama. Graham indicated that the legislation would be a bridge from a repeal of DACA ‘until we can fix the overall problem.’ ”
“It’s going to be basically, if you have legal status, you’ll continue legal status,” Graham told Politico. “I think it would pass overwhelmingly.”
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times