Florida Senator Marco Rubio is one of the most visible Latin Americans in the Republican Party and is expected to wieled considerable influence among Hispanic voters.
20 April 2012
Rubio pushes Republican US immigration plan but rejects VP position
As the battle for the White House gets truly underway, Republican Floridian Senator Marco Rubio has urged the Republican Party to formulate their own US immigration plan which can compete with their Democratic rivals.
Republicans have traditionally trodden a more austere path on US immigration compared to their Democratic counterparts yet, with November's presidential election beginning to loom ever clearer on the horizon and immigration looking set to play perhaps a greater role than ever before, many analysts believe it is the Republican's perceived lack of appeal to immigrant voters which will prevent them from taking the White House.
Republican president nominee Mitt Romney has attempted to soften is position on immigration in recent days, most notably by demoting Kansan Secretary of State Kris Kobach from 'adviser' to 'supporter' on his campaign staff yet Mr Rubio believes the Republican Party needs a comprehensive immigration reform plan of their own to ensure a tighter race come November.
President Obama has promised comprehensive immigration reform in his second term, and even though his DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship through either college attendance or military service, stalled in Congress, his attempts to do so only added to his appeal with the ever growing Hispanic vote.
Speaking in January, Mr Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president as well as rubbished fellow candidate Rick Perry's proposals to grant certain illegal immigrants a US visa or a path to residency.
The Hispanic vote is being touted as one of the most crucial in the upcoming election yet as President Obama enjoyed almost a two to one majority over then-Republican candidate John McCain in 2008, Mr Rubio feels an immigration bill authored by Republicans can go some way to shorten the President's lead.
Speaking to reporters at his Senate office, Mr Rubio appealed to the conscience of his party to formulate an immigration plan that would not legalise illegal immigrants, as the Democrats propose, but introduce less punitive measures to illegal immigrants, particularly those brought to America as children.
"We have these very talented young people in America who find themselves in limbo through no fault of their own," said Mr Rubio.
"Mitt Romney is the leader of the Republican Party now. Our hope is to come up with something that he can be supportive of."
Following Mr Romney's demotion of Mr Kobach and his perceived change of stance, many expected the former Massachusetts governor to make Mr Rubio, an American born to Cuban immigrants, his running mate, and therefore Vice President should the Republicans succeed in November.
While this move would surely appeal to Hispanic votes, Mr Rubio has dismissed the interest and claimed he may he seek higher office in 2016.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.