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Rubio's Second Class DREAM Act Won't Save Mitt Romney with Latino Voters

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marco rubioSenator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has just endorsed Mitt Romney for President, prompting another round of pundit speculation about Rubio’s vice presidential prospects (which Rubio demurely “rejects.”)  But the chatter continues because some within the GOP apparently think that adding Rubio to the ticket could help the Party recover from its free-fall with Latino voters.  They ignore two inconvenient truths:

1) Recent polling from Fox News Latino shows that most Latino voters would not change their vote if Rubio were added to the ticket (and 14% would actually be less likely to support such a ticket).  Once again, it’s clear that a politician’s position on the issues matters more to Latinos than his ethnicity.   

2) Rubio’s promise to introduce a second-class DREAM Act—with no path to citizenship for young people who grew up here—is a poorly calculated political move that will backfire.  Does Rubio really want to be the one telling young Latino leaders to get to the back of the bus?      

A blistering editorial in yesterday’s New York Times called Rubio’s move “The DREAM Act without the Dream.”  Other commentators piled on, dismantling his idea of creating a separate class of Americans and pointing out the message it sends to Latino voters that their contributions are welcomed, but not their citizenship:

Political blogger Steve Benen wrote:

Recognizing the importance of immigration policy, the far-right senator is reportedly eyeing a proposal that would be similar to the popular Dream Act, only the Rubio version would take out the important parts.  Mr. Rubio’s idea to make it palatable to his party is to offer them legalization without citizenship…This idea is nothing more than some newly invented third-class status – not illegal, but not American.

John Aravosis of AMERICAblog wrote:

It’s a lovely way to solidify a permanent underclass in this country for Latinos. What is he thinking?  (He’s thinking he wants to be vice president in a political party that doesn’t like Latinos who aren’t Cuban.)  Only Marco Rubio could turn the Dream Act into the Ream Act.

Perhaps Greg Sargent of the Washington Post captured it best:

If the only version of the DREAM Act that Congressional Republicans can bring themselves to support is one that doesn’t offer a path to citizenship to young immigrants in America who go to college or serve in the armed forces, then that seems more likely to epitomize the GOP’s Latino problem than to fix it.