27 April 2012

Rubio’s US immigration bill set to fall at first hurdle

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Floridian Senator Marco Rubio's Republican alternative to President Obama's stalled DREAM Act looks set to fall at the first hurdle after House Speaker John Boehner, the most senior Republican in Congress, called the US immigration bill 'difficult at best'.

US immigration

Speaker of the House John Boehner has cooled interest in Senator Rubio's Republican alternative to President Obama's DREAM Act

The Republican Party has been struggling to contend with the Democratic Party's relatively lenient stance on US immigration until Mr Rubio, widely considered a favourite for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential nominee, proposed a similar Republican bill.

Mr Rubio's bill proposes to grant children who came to the country illegally with their parents a non-immigrant US visa. While few Republicans are keen on allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country, many touted it as the much-needed Republican alternative to President Obama's DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they served in the military or attended an American college.

After President Obama's bill stalled in Congress, the Republicans were given an opportunity to push through their own immigration bill. A relatively lenient bill sponsored by the Republican's most visible Hispanic member had been considered a strong move in attracting Hispanic voters in November's presidential election; the growing Hispanic community is thought by many to hold the potentially deciding vote.

However, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, the most senior Republican and third in the line of accession to the Presidency, has poured cold water on the prospect of Mr Rubio's bill, saying it would be hard for an issue as crucial as immigration to be resolved during the delicate political landscape created by the prospect of a presidential election.

"I found [Mr Rubio's bill] of interest, but the problem with this issue is you're operating in a very hostile political environment," said Mr Boehner. "And to deal with an issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best."

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