Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida is presenting new ideas for dealing with undocumented migrants.
The plan would allow young illegal migrants who came to the United States with their parents:
- to apply for non-immigrant visas
- to stay in the country to study or work
- to obtain a driver’s license
They later could apply for residency, but they would not have a special path to citizenship.
The senator calls his legislation a conservative alternative to the Democratic supported DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors). That act provides a pathway to citizenship to children in the United States illegally if they attend college or join the military. It did not become law.
Latinos will play an important role in the upcoming presidential election. There are 21 million eligible Latino voters, many in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado, states that are important in obtaining a majority of electoral votes. In general, Hispanics have favored the Democrats in polls.
Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have called for more border protection and more deportation. They generally supported harsh anti-immigrant state laws.
Mitt Romney, the likely Republican candidate said, “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party.”
Pro-immigrant advocates are said to be interested and skeptical about Rubio’s plan.