Apr 05 2012
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN
April 5, 2012
You may have heard that a group of Republicans in Congress -- including GOP rock star and possible vice presidential pick Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida -- are getting ready to introduce their version of the DREAM Act.You also may have heard that Democratic lawmakers and liberal advocacy groups despise the Republican alternative and derisively label it "DREAM Act Lite."
As someone who has written about immigration for more than 20 years and hammered Democrats and Republicans (including Rubio) when appropriate, I call the GOP approach to the DREAM Act something else: A common sense solution. It could break a stalemate and improve millions of lives. And it could only be opposed for ugly partisan reasons.
Like the bill that has been kicked around in Congress for more than a decade, and which met its demise in December 2010 when five Senate Democrats effectively killed it by voting against cloture on the debate, the Republican plan would give undocumented students a path to legal status in exchange for going to college or joining the military.
But unlike the earlier version, it would not include a path to citizenship. Students could become citizens later. It's not like they'd be barred from the citizenship process. But they would have to take the initiative. It would be on them, as it should be.
Of course, there is always the possibility that those who are so quick to criticize a bill they have not even seen yet may not be interested in solutions at all. Maybe what they really want is the problem -- something to hurl at their opponents at election time to rile up Latinos so they turn out and vote for Democrats. If that is the case, then shame on them. This isn't a game. This is about peoples' lives and finding the best way to enrich them without turning our country's principles inside out.
We tried the Democrats' approach. Many of them backed the original DREAM Act, but the leadership couldn't even convince every Democrat in the Senate to support the bill. Now let's give the Republicans a chance. And give politics a rest.
Read the full column here.