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As Rubio Refuses to Protect DACA, Nelson Reminds Us of DREAMers’ Contributions

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Today, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) held the Senate floor to remind listeners of the DREAMers’ contributions in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As Nelson emphasized, the 750,000 DREAMers who currently have work permits under DACA are our neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and yes, U.S. military veterans.

On the Senate floor, Senator Nelson recounted the story of Elijah Dawkins, a formerly undocumented United States veteran. After multiple tours, Dawkins was held in a detention center due to his undocumented status. After his release, he was able to gain U.S. citizenship as a result of his military service. Senator Nelson urged his fellow Congressmen to “remember the faces of people like Elijah Dawkins and to come together and acknowledge their many contributions to this great country,” when Trump attempts to end DACA next year.

Meanwhile, as Senator Nelson publicly defends immigrants in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) turns his back on immigrants once again.  Rubio has taken to recommending that President Trump simply allow the DACA work permits to expire, as if this were a more humane way to take away someone’s ability to work in the country they call home.  He made vague reference to one day replacing the permits with legislation, but practically speaking he’s proposing to leave DACA recipients in limbo until then.

He’s also shown no interest or willingness to help make legislation happen.  When asked if he’s thought any further about supporting a Durbin-Graham bill along these lines today, Rubio had a one word answer: “No.” 

Juan Escalante, a DREAMer and America’s Voice Education Fund digital campaign manager, said, “Senator Bill Nelson’s leadership on immigration continues to provide hope for thousands of immigrant youth from across the state of Florida, many of whom benefit from President Obama’s 2012 DACA – which allows them to obtain a work permit, a driver’s license, and temporary relief from deportation. Thanks to DACA, young people in Florida can provide for their families and contribute back to their communities. Senator Nelson recognizes the contributions immigrants make to Florida and our nation as a whole; that is why he is standing up to Donald Trump and asking that the DACA program stays in place and that its beneficiaries are not put back under the threat of deportation. This is the brave and courageous leadership the state of Florida needs from its elected representatives.

“Meanwhile, Florida’s junior Senator, Marco Rubio, would rather see young immigrants deported and the DACA program repealed, instead of working on a bipartisan solution to address the plight of young people like myself. It is no surprise that Marco Rubio has retreated to the anti-immigrant position that he campaigned on back in 2006, as he has a known history of putting his political whims ahead of his constituents, and especially ahead of the Latino and immigrant residents of Florida. As the son of Cuban immigrants, Marco Rubio should be ashamed of turning his back on the immigrant community while helping to implement Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.”

More examples of Senator Rubio turning his back on the immigrant community are available here