Senator Rubio has received little support for his US immigration proposal.
11 May 2012
Senator Rubio defends US visa proposal
After receiving criticism from both Republican and Democratic supporters, Florida Senator has defended his immigration proposal, which would grant children of illegal immigrants a US visa, as a 'humanitarian mission'.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, widely considered the favourite for presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate, has proposed an immigration bill which would grant children of illegal immigrants, brought to America by their parents, a non-immigrant US visa.
However, after facing criticism from Republicans who are averse to immigration reform as well as Democrats who feel the proposal does not go far enough in assisting illegal immigrants escape the risk of deportation, Senator Rubio has changed his approach to promoting the bill from 'immigration reform' to 'humanitarian mission'.
This is not really immigration reform," said Senator Rubio at a meeting of Iowa business leaders in Washington DC. "This is not a system that is going to exist in the future, this is for a very specific case of people who have come here through no fault of their own."
The senator, himself a child of Cuban immigrants, likened those who would benefit from his proposal to Cuban refugees who are permitted to remain in the US on humanitarian grounds due to the communist regime in Cuba.
"I would just say that this is really not an immigration mission, it's a humanitarian mission."
Senator Rubio's plan is considered as a Republican alternative to the Democratic DREAM Act which would grant children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they serve in the military or attend college.
However, the DREAM Act has encountered strong opposition from Republican politicians, who have resisted the comprehensive US immigration reform President Obama promised, which has seen the bill stall in the houses of Congress.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.