Although the DREAM Act has not passed in Florida or on a Federal level, several legislators still support the proposed legislation and hope to get some form of the law passed eventually. Recently, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has stated that he would support the act in some forms. Although he has stated that he does not want undocumented students to be simply handed citizenship, he would like to see legislation that would permit them to stay in the US legally.
In an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Rubio stated that he cannot support the current version of the act because it allows undocumented students a direct path to citizenship, whereas Rubio would prefer a path that offers legal status followed by a possibility of citizenship down the road. Rubio has opposed amnesty but is also a part of the Latino community and has stated that he is interested in helping those in the community who are struggling with immigration issues. Rubio has stated that is working with Senate colleagues to create a possible solution for undocumented students.
Part of the problem with the DREAM Act is that it has been classified as an amnesty program by many, including by many Republicans. Since the act is seen in that manner, many oppose it, saying that the DREAM Act and amnesty programs will encourage undocumented immigration and will essentially reward people for breaking the law while punishing those who immigrate to the US in a legal manner. President Obama and many others support the DREAM Act, saying that it would ensure that children are not punished for their parents’ mistakes. Many also claim that the DREAM Act would strengthen the US economy by ensuring that more people get an education that allows them to contribute skills to US industries.
Currently, Rubio is in very preliminary stages of speaking with colleagues and looking for solutions. He has stated that it may take some time to actually draft anything. Others have also suggested some solutions. For example, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., introduced a bill that does not have any Republican support yet. That bill would give some undocumented students at college nonimmigrant visas. This would give students legal status, without placing them on the path to naturalization. The bill would also allow science and engineering graduates to get work visas if they find an employer sponsor. This would ensure that undocumented students could still contribute to the US economy and enjoy legal status.