Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the White House is trying to sabotage his version of the DREAM Act by “ordering” activists not to work with him so that President Obama can maintain his hold on the Latino vote in the 2012 election.
“One of the things that already been documented is that the White House has been — the articles that have been written, two or three by now, the White House has been calling in DREAM Act advocates and asking them, almost ordering them, not to work with me on this issue,” Rubio said Thursday on the Laura Ingraham radio show. “They have been counting on using this issue as a wedge issue in October to drive up turnout.”
Rubio is considered to be on Mitt Romney's short list of possible vice-presidential choices.
Rubio’s proposal, expected to be finalized this week, is a scaled-back version of the Democrat-backed DREAM Act, which offers a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants who came to the United States when they were young and then go to college or serve in the military.
Rubio’s proposal instead offers non-immigrant visas that would eventually allow them to apply for citizenship.
“How do you get Hispanics who voted for you in 2008, who now have higher unemployment, have lost their businesses, have lost their homes, have lost their jobs?,” Rubio continued. “You need an issue like this, so I have no doubt that about that fact, that [the Obama campaign] would use this for that.”
A Senate Democratic leadership aide told The Hill that they're ready to work with Rubio on the legislation, but that the final bill would need the support of Republican leadership in both chambers - something which has yet to materialize.
Republicans are entering the election season with a massive deficit among Hispanics, with Romney barely registering in the double digits in a head-to-head match-up against Obama, according to a Fox News Latino poll released last month. In addition, 73 percent said they approved of the job the president has been doing, well above Gallup’s national average of 44 percent.
Ninety-percent of Latino voters say they support the Democratic version of the DREAM Act, which Romney is on record as opposing. Romney has not yet taken a stance on Rubio’s upcoming proposal.