Monday, Mitt Romney's campaign said the former Massachusetts governor would "study and consider'' Sen. Marco Rubio's immigration plan, labeled as the conservative alternative to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act. Rubio's plan does not go as far as the DREAM Act, which would grant illegal immigrants brought over to the United States as children a path to citizenship if they serve in the U.S. military or attend college. Rather, Rubio's plan offers permanent residency, not full citizenship, for illegal immigrants who pass similar criteria.
Rubio, the freshman Florida senator and son of Cuban exiles, has been on the short list for vice presidential nominee even before Romney secured the nomination, which he is now widely believed to have done. Rubio boasts an enviable popularity among conservatives and Latinos alike, and could help Romney gain on Obama's 68 to 23 lead with Hispanic voters. Furthermore, a GOP compromise on the DREAM Act could be just the olive branch Republicans need to reach out to Hispanics on other issues, such as the economy.
However, throughout the primary battle, Romney expressed a tough stance on immigration. He has been critical of the DREAM Act, calling it "amnesty." He has said that "amnesty" programs are a "magnet" which would "encourage more people to come here illegally." He has also argued for the use of "self-deportation" to address illegal immigration and that English be the official language of the United States.
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