The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls
(202) 261-2388

On Dream Act: Rubio Out of Step with Florida Hispanics

While Sen. Nelson and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Lead as DREAM Sponsors, Rubio Pledges “No” Vote


Only a week after Florida Hispanics rose-up to defeat an Arizona-like immigration bill in the Florida legislature, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has decided to cast aside the large Florida Hispanic community in favor of the national GOP anti-immigrant platform. Rubio told Telemundo that he would vote against the DREAM Act, which has been introduced on a bi-partisan basis in Congress, notably championed by Florida's own Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "Marco Rubio has a chance to be a genuine bridge between the anti-immigrant image of the GOP and Latino voters in Florida, and across the nation. Sadly, Marco has bucked his own Florida colleagues and the entire state by opting out of supporting the DREAM Act - one of the most common sense pieces of legislation that would benefit tens of thousands of Florida youth yearning to fight for their country and get an education. Marco Rubio is now a bridge to nowhere."

In his 2010 election, Rubio won 62% of the Latino vote - with 78% Cuban Latinos and only 40% non-Cuban Latino vote - yet Rubio's opponents failed to make his anti-immigration stance a liability despite the staunchly pro-immigrant stance of Florida Hispanic voters. Now, especially after a recent contentious state legislative battle over anti-immigrant legislation that rallied the Hispanic community against the bill, Rubio is not likely to get a similar pass if he balks at such a sensible piece of legislation as the DREAM Act. In the lame duck session last year, before Rubio was in Congress, the Senate fell five votes short of passing the DREAM Act.

With 88% of Latino voters thinking it is important for Congress to pass DREAM, it will be hard for Rubio to keep his strong favorability ratings while voting against opportunities for young people. The DREAM Act has received bipartisan support in the past, enjoys the support of approximately 70 percent of voters overall, and has been championed by religious, business, education and civil rights leaders, as well as military leaders and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, all of whom recognize the benefits of talented young people who want to serve their communities and their country.

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.