Senator Rubio says his proposal to grant illegal immigrants who attend college a US visa differs from President Obama's DREAM Act.
23 April 2012
Rubio proposes US visa for illegal immigrant college students
Floridian Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican Party's favourite for Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential Nominee, has proposed granting a US visa to illegal immigrants who attend American colleges.
Senator Rubio stopped short of supporting President Obama's DREAM Act, which provides illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military a path to citizenship, and instead proposed his own plan to grant a non-immigrant US visa to college students.
Senator Rubio, speaking on CNN's 'State of the Union' said the DREAM Act provides an unfair route into legal status for illegal immigrants.
"The way the DREAM Act would circumvent the existing immigration system is it would create a special category that allows you to get into the immigration process."
Senator Rubio's plan however would allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country while they attend college and not automatically be given citizenship.
"All [my plan] does is award a non-immigrant visa to these kids who find themselves in this very difficult circumstance. At some point in the future, they would have no more or no less rights than anybody else in the world. They wouldn't be getting any preferential treatment."
Senator Rubio has been widely touted as Republican Presidential favourite Mitt Romney's running-mate in November's presidential election. The Romney campaign's perceived tough stance on US immigration would be significantly reduced if joined by Senator Rubio, who is of Cuban descent.
Senator Rubio's ability to appeal to Hispanic voters, who have been considered to hold the crucial decision in the election, has been dismissed by the Floridian Senator.
"This notion that somehow, in order to appeal to Hispanic voters, you have to support illegal immigration, it's just not true. Here's been my suggestion: other than only just talking about what we're against, you have to talk about what you're for.
"The Republican Party is, and must become and continue to be, the pro-legal immigration party. We have to make very clear we support legal immigration. The vast majority of Americans of Hispanic descent are legally here."
Senator Rubio attempted to defuse the speculation he will join Mr Romney's presidential campaign by saying he would not "even discuss the process anymore. I'm going to be respectful of the process [Mr Romney has] put in place."
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.