WASHINGTON – A bipartisan plan to protect Dreamers from deportation was released Thursday but lacks an influential supporter: Sen. Marco Rubio.
“I’m not prepared to sign on to that legislation right now because I think there might be a better approach,” Rubio told the Tampa Bay Times.
The revised Dream Act released by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would protect some 800,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents. It would provide a path to citizenship.
So-called Dreamers have been shielded from deportation under an Obama-era program known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But lawsuits have challenged the program and the Trump administration has sent mixed signals.
“I think DACA is unconstitutional and ideally would be replaced by a law that addresses this issue in a way that takes into account the reality of the situation that we face,” Rubio said Wednesday.
Yet the former Gang of 8 member said he wants to prevent against “unintended consequences.”
“The concern with these laws is they are manipulated by networks, particularly in Central America, as they have been in the past when DACA was first signed where they were lying to people and saying to them that America has this new law that allows children to come. It was one of the drivers of the migratory crisis we faced (in 2014). We don’t want to see a repeat of that effort. “
Rubio said legislation would have to provide “appropriate resources,” which he defined as working with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to publicize what the law would do and not do. “We don’t want to somehow have this misconstrued by trafficking networks to encourage people to take a dangerous journey to the United States,” he said.
A request for additional information from Rubio’s office was not answered.
Rubio in 2012 was working on his own legislation affecting Dreamers but never produced a bill as conservative criticism mounted. Then President Obama stepped in with DACA.
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times