Harry Reid, appearing on Univision, said that Marco Rubio doesn’t even have legislative language for his rumored version of the DREAM Act, and that he couldn’t possibly assess its chances without something to look at.
“I’m glad that Marco is doing something. I think that’s significant,” Reid said. “But the problem is, right now there has not been a single word put on paper, not a word. And remember, in anything we do in life, the devil is in the details. So let’s see what Marco’s going to come up with. … If he has something better and it’s something that I think is going to be okay, I will be happy to support it. But let’s stop this nonsense of talking about it. He talks to one group this way, another group another way. Put it in writing.”
Asked whether he’d back a proposal that “does not include a path to citizenship,” Reid said, “No.” Then he explained that he’d consider backing any proposal that’s fair to DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and have since attended college or joined the military [...]
“I hope [Rubio] works with his Republicans,” Reid said. “He should start, perhaps, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives who, when asked about this question, just threw cold water on it. I don’t throw cold water on it. I do say, Marco, give us something in writing. I’ll be happy to look at it. I’ve been a big advocate for the DREAM Act.”
The backstory here is that Rubio, in an attempt to dig his party out of a hole on immigration, has advanced a Republican version of the DREAM Act that would not offer a path to citizenship for undocumented students brought to America by their parents at a young age, but would somehow allow them to stay in this country and work. I say “somehow” because, as Reid said, there isn’t any legislative language, just some discussions. It seems like the DREAMers would get a work visa and an application to apply for citizenship like any other immigrant.
The point behind the DREAM Act was that these kids, who know no other country as home but America, should be able to acquire citizenship if they reach college or serve in the military. Reid, as noted above, wouldn’t support a DREAM Act version that didn’t confer citizenship.
In a way, Rubio has already won. Just getting his unwritten policy idea discussed in top circles, as if it exists, helps to soften the vision of Republicans as uncompromisingly against immigrants. Rubio has been going around accusing the White House of a vast conspiracy to silence his policy by discouraging anyone to work with him. But I’m pretty sure the White House has little pull with Republicans, and Rubio hasn’t trotted out many of them as supporters yet. Still, he’s gotten the media to cover that invented “controversy,” and he’s gotten them to take his version of the DREAM Act seriously. It remains to be seen whether the party regulars will back him up. But if they do, they at least have a pitch to Latino voters in November.