Rubio, meanwhile, is reconsidering whether to move forward with his Senate alternative to the DREAM Act in light of Obama's decision on Friday to stop deporting young immigrants who meet certain criteria.
Prior to the announcement, Rubio, often mentioned as a top prospect for the vice president spot on the 2012 Republican ticket, had been working on an alternative to Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSyria activists cheer Kaine pick Democratic National Convention event calendar Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE's (D-Ill.) DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who came to the country illegally when they were young.
Durbin's legislation makes young immigrants living in the United States illegally eligible for conditioned permanent residency status provided they have demonstrated good moral character, arrived in the country before they were 16, lived in the country for five continuous years, graduated from high school or earned their GED and are either pursuing a degree in higher education or serving in the military.
Rubio's proposal, by contrast, grants non-immigrant visas to the targeted age group but does not include a pathway to citizenship. In late May, Rubio's office said it was planning to introduce legislation later in the summer.
Unlike Rubio's bill, Rivera's legislation includes a pathway to citizenship. It also allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend deportation of young immigrants living in the country illegally as long as, in addition to the same criteria in the DREAM Act, they are 19 or younger or were "granted 'voluntary departure' status before turning 19," according to Rivera's office.
Rubio has consulted with Rivera while the congressman was crafting his bill.
On Friday Obama announced that the United States would no longer deport immigrants under 30 who are living in the country illegally as long as they arrived prior to turning 16, lived in the country for five years, graduated from high school or earned a GED or are serving in the military.
The young immigrants must also not have been convicted of a felony. The proposal received strong praise from Durbin and other Democrats and cautious criticism from Rubio, who said it was a short-term solution to a long-term problem.