After President Obama announced that the U.S. will stop deporting certain young immigrants, Fox News figures have accused President Obama of undercutting Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's attempt to pass legislation reportedly similar to the DREAM Act. In fact, Obama and Democrats attempted to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, before being blocked by Senate Republicans.
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Administration Policy Change Will Allow Certain Young Immigrants To Remain In The U.S.
Secretary Napolitano: U.S. Will Allow Certain Young People Brought To U.S. As Children To Apply To Remain In The Country. A press release by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that "certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria" will potentially be allowed to remain in the country. [Department of Homeland Security, 6/15/12]
Obama Says That His Policy Will Help People Who Would Benefit If Congress Passed The DREAM Act. From Obama's remarks on the immigration policy change:
This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation's immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just -- specifically for certain young people sometimes called "Dreamers."
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they're friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.
That's what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you've been here for five years, and you're willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away. [WhiteHouse.gov, 6/15/12]
Fox Figures Claim Obama Acted In Order To Undercut Rubio's DREAM Act
Camerota: "The President Pre-Empted [Rubio's] Plan." On the June 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked GOP Sen. Marco Rubio "Did the president steal your plan on immigration, because it sure looks like it to a lot of people." Co-host Alisyn Camerota asked, "Given that the president pre-empted your plan, where do Republicans go now on immigration?" Co-host Brian Kilmeade further speculated that the Obama administration issued the immigration policy change in order to undercut Rubio. From Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: Here is the thing, we've been reading for the longest time, at least for the last couple of months, that you were working on a Republican version of the DREAM Act. And then yesterday you came forward and said, "I can't really do my -- what I wanted to do now. My version's dead because of what the president did on Friday." So can you connect the dots for us? What were you working on, and what do you think -- do you think word got out to the administration and that's why they acted the way they did? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/20/12]
Fred Barnes: Before The Change Rubio Was "Perfectly Happy To Get Together With The Administration To Work Out A Compromise." On the June 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes claimed that Obama announced his policy "purely for political reasons," not on "the merits," because Rubio was willing to work with him:
BARNES: Did he do it on the merits or did he do it purely for political reasons? And it's pretty obvious he didn't do it on the merits. And here was a perfect chance for him. I mean, the president keeps saying that the Republicans, oh, they're just against everything I want to do, and they block everything. Well, here you had Senator Marco Rubio out there with his version of the DREAM Act. And he'd have been perfectly happy to get together with the administration and try to work out a compromise. And they might have been able to do it. But now they had the president goes ahead and doing this thing. [Fox News, Special Report, 6/19/12]
But Republicans Have Blocked Attempts To Pass The DREAM Act
A Majority Of Senators Backed The DREAM Act In 2010, But Republicans Blocked It Via Filibuster. A December 18, 2010, ABC News article noted that even though a majority of senators voted for the DREAM Act, the bill "failed to win the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster." From ABC News:
Senate Republicans today blocked a controversial immigration measure that would have provided a conditional path to legal residency for hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants first brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.
By a vote of 55 to 41, the bill -- the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act -- failed to win the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster, even though the measure passed the House last week.
Supporters of the DREAM Act had said it would bring out of the shadows a fraction of the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who have known only the United States as home, enhance military recruitment and give American employers access to a talented and highly-motivated pool of young workers. [ABC News, 12/18/10]
The House Had Previously Passed The DREAM Act Despite Near Unanimous Republican Opposition. As CNN reported, on December 8, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act "mostly on partisan lines." 160 Republicans voted against the DREAM Act and only eight Republicans voted in favor of it. [CNN, 12/8/10; House roll call vote no. 625, 12/8/10]
Chicago Tribune: "The DREAM Act Once Had Considerable Republican Support" Before "Anti-Immigrant Fever Infected The Party." An April 22 Chicago Tribune op-ed noted that when the DREAM Act "came up in 2007, it had the support of a dozen Republican senators" but "that was before anti-immigrant fever infected the party." From the Chicago Tribune:
Time was, Republicans could appreciate how people would be so determined to enter the Promised Land that they would ignore the law. It was the GOP icon Ronald Reagan who in 1986 supported and signed an immigration bill offering absolution to nearly 3 million undocumented foreigners.
"I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally," he declared unashamedly.
The Dream Act once had considerable Republican support. Robert Gates, George W. Bush's defense secretary, endorsed it. Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended it in presidential debates. Richard Lugar, the longest serving U.S. senator in Indiana history, signed on as the chief GOP sponsor. When it came up in 2007, it had the support of a dozen Republican senators.
But that was before anti-immigrant fever infected the party. Lugar is facing a primary challenge from a tea party favorite endorsed by the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee -- which has called undocumented foreigners "Nazis" who "have set up ethnic cleansing zones." So the usually steadfast Lugar dropped the bill like a hot stove. [Chicago Tribune, 4/22/12]
Boehner Claimed Passing Rubio's Proposal Would Be "Difficult At Best"
Boehner: "To Deal With A Very Difficult Issue Like This, I Think It Would Be Difficult At Best." An April 26 CBS News article reported:
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said "it would be difficult at best" to pass Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's version of the DREAM Act in Congress, lowering expectations for a policy proposal some have said could help the GOP make inroads with Latinos.
"There's always hope," Boehner told reporters, adding that he spoke with Rubio about the proposal and "found it of interest."
"But the problem with this issue is that we're operating in a very hostile political environment," the GOP leader said. "And to deal with a very difficult issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best." [CBS News, 4/26/12]
Schumer: Rubio "Is Likely To Find His Party Unwilling To Abandon Its Hardline, Anti-Immigration Stance." An April 26 post on Talking Points Memo reported:
"Speaker Boehner's comments show how far Sen. Rubio has to go in trying to gain Republican support for any proposal to help immigrant students," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the No. 3 Senate Democrat, said in a statement. "Sen. Rubio should be commended for trying to advance the conversation, but he is likely to find his party unwilling to abandon its hardline, anti-immigrant stance." [Talking Points Memo, 4/26/12]