Sen. Marco Rubio said he welcomed the relief to the DREAM Act kids but that he believes it would likely make it harder to reach a permanent solution.
“I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country,” Romney said at a campaign stop, according to a CNN report.
Romney noted that Obama’s action is “a short-term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents” without saying whether he would reverse it.
He also said he would like to see legislation. “I happen to agree with Marco Rubio as he looked at, considered this issue, he said that this is an important matter that we have to find a long-term solution,” he said.
During the GOP primary, Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act as president, and Rubio has altered his stance on the issue as well.
Republicans charged Obama with playing politics in issuing the new policy, and it is clear the move was designed in part to shore up the president’s reputation with Latinos in advance of what is expected to be a close November election. But a side benefit might be in putting both Romney and his would-be running mate in a difficult position on immigration issues.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has been working for 12 years to pass the DREAM Act, said in an interview that he still hopes the president’s action helps Rubio find Republican support for a more permanent solution.
“I want Sen. Rubio to succeed, I’ve encouraged him.” Durbin said. “What the president did today, I hope that it will help him.”
The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who agree to go to college or join the military. The bill passed the House in 2010 but came up short in the Senate.
Durbin said despite his hopes, he does not believe he or Rubio will be successful this Congress. “I think [the DREAM Act is] still tough to pass this year. I’m working with Sen. Rubio; I hope we can pass it in the Senate with a bipartisan vote,” Durbin said. “That’s a good thing even if the House won’t take it up. But until we have a House of Representatives that is more open to immigration reform, I’m afraid it’s not likely to occur.”
The reaction of most Republicans was far stronger than that of Rubio or Romney.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), for example, said Friday that he was planning to sue the White House to get the proposal overturned.
“Americans should be outraged that President Obama is planning to usurp the Constitutional authority of the United States Congress and grant amnesty by edict to 1 million illegal aliens,” King said in a statement. “There is no ambiguity in Congress about whether the DREAM Act’s amnesty program should be the law of the land. It has been rejected by Congress, and yet President Obama has decided that he will move forward with it anyway. President Obama, an ex constitutional law professor, whose favorite word is audacity, is prepared to violate the principles of Constitutional Law that he taught.”
Durbin called King out and pointed to the Cuban-American experience.