As a Floridian, I am a little bit perplexed with the positions that Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have adopted on immigration. It is especially concerning, when you take a closer look at both their previous positions on the issue, coupled with the fact that they both hail from a state that holds one of the largest immigrant populations in the country.
Former Governor Jeb Bush has been one of the few Republicans running for president to defend birthright citizenship, a hot topic within GOP circles these days. “We ought to fix the problem rather than take away rights that are constitutionally in doubt,” Bush said about the right granted by the 14th amendment to individuals born in the United States. And yet, he is not shy about using the derogatory term “anchor babies” when referring to the individuals who he is trying to defend.
This is the same man who continues to point to his book on immigration as the answer to fix our broken system. But it is also the same man, who has backpedaled on his position regarding a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, and who wants to nullify the DACA and DAPA programs.
Is Jeb Bush catering to the right wing of his party? Without a doubt.
Here is a candidate who once seemed to be aware of the immigrant population of his home state of Florida, and subsequently that of the country — remember his famous “act of love” quote — who has now pledged to increase enforcement on immigration, without providing solutions to bring people like my parents out of the shadows.
Florida’s Junior Senator Marco Rubio, who also running for president, is a completely different story.
Here is an individual who one once was described as the “The Republican Savior,” and yet he has failed to lead on a key issue. Rubio, who once supported in-state tuition for undocumented youth in Florida, and helped pass the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform plan through the Senate, is now looking to join the growing Republican chorus on birthright citizenship.
As someone who could have led and championed the issue of immigration, all we are left with is the cold shoulder. Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes — he would repeal DACA as well.
No amount of pandering to Latino or immigrant communities, whether is by sharing your immigrant story or selling an overpriced guacamole bowl, will change the simple fact that both Bush and Rubio want to take away DACA, and in some cases, restrict citizenship to individuals who are born in the United States.
Florida deserves better from both of these candidates. Immigrants and their families deserve better.
A word of advice for those looking to fill Marco Rubio’s empty Senate seat, take a close look to this issue — as none of you will be exempt from answering tough question on immigration.