In the South Florida race for the most competitive Hispanic-majority district in Congress, the two Miami candidates field more questions about immigration reform than about U.S. policy toward Cuba.
“There is no community in the United States that would benefit more from comprehensive immigration reform than South Florida,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat.
“It’s not just an immigration issue. It’s an economic issue,” said Carlos Curbelo, the Republican opposing him. “In many ways, it’s an education issue, too.”
When it comes to immigration, Florida’s 26th congressional district is an outlier.
Nationally, Democrats in close contests are so worried about being shunned by conservative-leaning independent voters for pro-immigrant stances that President Barack Obama recently acceded to their concerns and backed off his earlier promise to take executive action before Nov. 4. Most Republicans have taken a hardline approach on immigration to fend off any potential primary challenge.
But in Miami, home to longtime pro-reform Republicans like Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the call for at least some action is bipartisan.