Immigration
12:26 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Rubio's Path Through Immigration Politics May Be Tough As Illegals' Path To Citizenship

THE PATH IS THE PROBLEM: University of Miami law professor David Abraham (inset) says Sen. Marco Rubio's path to citizenship for illegals, tough as it is, may still be too much for the Tea Party to accept.

Now that a group of key senators and the president have proposed their plans for immigration reform, what would some of the proposed changes mean to South Florida's unique immigrant communities? We hear from  University of Miami immigration law specialist David Abraham.

UM law professor David Abraham speaks with WLRN's Phil Latzman.

After admitting that failing to act on it was the biggest missed opportunity of
his first term, President Obama declared this week that "now is the time" to
fix the nation's broken immigration system.

Obama's announcement came a day after a bipartisan group of eight U. S.  senators, including Florida's freshman Republican from Miami, Marco Rubio, put out their own plan. 

Each provides a way for most of the estimated 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally to become citizens but Rubio's would require a longer and tougher "path" to citizenship than the ones favored by his Republican colleagues.  That puts him in a tough spot, says Abraham, considering that he's supposed to be the leader of the campaign to bring Hispanic voters into the Republican tent.

And any path at all may offend the Tea Party which, according to Abraham, continues to oppose anything that "looks like, sounds like or can be misconstrued as amnesty."

They  disagree on the exact path to citizenship but the separate proposals focus on the same principles.  

The plans also strengthen border security, crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and streamline the legal immigration system.

Of the 11 million immigrants unlawfully in the United States, an estimated 825,000 live in Florida.

What are the political implications for Florida’s freshman senator and what does immigration reform mean here in our immigrant-rich community? Click "listen" to hear David Abraham's views.