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January 27, 2015

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Harry Reid braces for a Republican alternative to his Dream Act



Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, accompanied by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, right, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 8, 2012.

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Sen. Harry Reid speaks to community members attending the 2012 Democratic Caucus Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, at Cheyenne High School.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has long been at the top of the list of Republican vice-presidential contenders for one key reason: The party thinks he can sway Latinos, who in 2008 proved to be the Democrats’ most critical swing vote.

So Rubio will have perhaps no more important audition to prove his worth to the party than when he unveils his alternate Dream Act, legislation that for the past decade has sought to put undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are enrolled in college or the military on a pathway to citizenship. Under Rubio’s version, they would simply get residency without the citizenship option.

He’s expected to pull back the curtain on that bill any day now. But already, the Senate majority leader is hinting at a scathing review.

“There’s not been a single word put on paper, not a word. And remember, as with anything we do in life, the devil’s in the details,” Sen. Harry Reid said Sunday, appearing on Univision’s “Al Punto” with Jorge Ramos. “He says one thing to one group and another thing to another group. ... Marco, give us something in writing and I’d be happy to look at it.”

But Reid also added that he was “bound and determined” to pass a Dream Act that included a pathway to citizenship, declaring he would not consider anything short of that, even if the beneficiaries of such a bill are getting desperate enough to take Rubio’s reported deal.

In the absence of enough congressional support — including almost no Republican support — to tackle immigration reform, Reid has used the Dream Act as a means of reminding the Hispanic voting community about the difference between the parties and coalescing the voting bloc around Democrats.

Two years ago, it worked: Reid insisted on moving forward with the Dream Act, falling just five votes shy of what it needed to pass the Senate; Hispanic voters in Nevada turned out in greater-than-ever proportions to help re-elect him to the Senate (the turnout was far larger than his margin of victory).

Earlier this year, Reid strongly hinted to the Las Vegas Sun that he would be doing the same thing prior to the 2010 election.

Having a Rubio alternative could potentially complicate that by giving Republicans an alternative piece of legislation to which they could point and pledge their support.

But the test will be how much praise from Latinos Rubio gets when he puts out his bill.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, comes from an ethnic group that has tended to vote more Republican in presidential election cycles than have the Mexican and Salvadoran communities that dominate the Hispanic communities in Nevada. The illegal immigration debate plays differently in each of those communities.

Thus far, immigration advocates from Rubio’s home state of Florida have praised the concept of his proposal in the opinion pages of local newspapers. In a column in the Miami Herald last month, however, Reid said Rubio’s proposal would create “a permanent underclass ... (that) goes against the basic American value of equal opportunity.” But, he added, the Democrats’ “door remains open.”

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  1. This is a joke and it's a waste of our money. There isn't a chance in hell that any law will pass and they both know it. To put simply, both are pandering to the Mexican voters where they need to pander to nobody and do the job they're hired to do, work for Americans.

  2. These children and young adults haven't committed any crimes . They are victims of their own parents crime .Bait and switch isn't going to work . Let's get these children on the right track to becoming useful and productive citizens . Punish the parents the ones who actually broke the law not the victims of their crimes .

  3. Senator Reid is doing the right thing calling for action. Because clearly the Tea/Republicans will not ever put anything down on paper about this. They just want to talk and act like they are doing something. But the reality of the matter is the Tea/Republican will still follow the course of dragging their feet, acting tough, slandering an entire race of people in order to pander to the votes of another race of people.

    I think it's funny when you call out and reveal the Tea/Republicans' agenda for what they are doing, they cry foul. Because in their playbook, it is their God given right to play politics with this. But when you call them out for it, they suddenly play the victim and turn it around that the Democrats are the ones doing it. It's like they are affronted that you are actually using politics against them...something they relish doing every opportunity they can.

    I would imagine Senator Reid is one of the most frustrated in Washington D.C., but I like the fact he is staying the course, focused like a laser on trying to get something done. Even with all the constant, sustained attacks and obstruction as well as willful inactivity by the Tea/Republicans.

    The Tea/Republicans don't know they are actually topping off the fuel on a train right now. One that's going to be manned by all the Latino American voters out here.

    On November 6, 2012, that train is going into full power up mode and will run over Tea/Republicans and their totally warped, radical and extreme ideology that only tries to essentially group all Latinos together and portray them all as the bad guys; don't matter if they are in fact American citizens or not.

    Don't blame them, Tea/Republicans. You did it to yourselves.

  4. Rewarding CRIMINAL INVADERS is what Reid is all about.

  5. Bradley Chapline, You have the typical arrogance of a native born American assuming that legally admitted aliens suffered no discrimination and then you have the nerve to set immigrant against immigrant. Harry Reid is one valiant American to champion the downtrodden.

  6. The real question, is Marco Rubio still a member of the LDS church? Could we have two Mormons running on the same ticket?

  7. Give it up Harry. More than 3/4 of Americans don't want them to stay here. Secure the borders and EXPEL the 12-15 million illegals. Can't they do basic math. 7 million illegals in non-agricultural jobs versus staggering long-term unemployment? OK, not everyone aspires to be a waiter in a "mexican" restaurant but that job will work much better than living on the streets. And with immediate expulsion in process, we can cut our continuing costs for UC, TANF, EBT food stamps, Medicaid, ER/UMC, non-profit services, government grants to non-profits.... We accept guest workers with restrictions on their children--no "birth rite" citizenship. However, guest worker procedures need new restrictions--so many IT, East Indians and Nigerians are causing problems with employment, colleges, crime. Maybe Senator Harry could introduce legislation to get a FEDERAL COMPUTER SYSTEM that can track foreigners, visas, and guest workers. THEN we might consider some expansion.... We can't even track all the foreigners LIVING here, let alone all the visitors or the illegals. We can't track let alone develop data on who's been here how long. Senator Harry's continuing failure to do anything "passable" speaks volumes--they're only after some minority votes with no interest in DEALING WITH the problems.