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Romney Immigration Advisor Suggests Rubio’s DREAM Act-Lite Is Unacceptable ‘Amnesty’

By Annie-Rose Strasser  

"Romney Immigration Advisor Suggests Rubio’s DREAM Act-Lite Is Unacceptable ‘Amnesty’"

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Mitt Romney has been playing with his Etch-a-Sketch when it comes to the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented children who attended school or joined the military. He said he would veto it during the primary when he needed to appeal to hardline conservatives, but then said wanted a Republican version of the bill almost immediately after the general election began.

The leading contender for such a bill comes from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a man many observers believe is also a leading candidate to be Romney’s running mate. Although Rubio has not released the full details of his plan, he describes it as a watered-down version of DREAM that will permit undocumented students to obtain temporary legal status while they study and more permanent status after they graduate.

Rubio’s apparent plan, however, isn’t even supported by Romney’s own immigration policy team. Outside of the Supreme Court hearing about Arizona’s harsh immigration law, S.B. 1070, ThinkProgress caught up with Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s law and Romney’s “informal advisor” on immigration issues. Kobach said he wouldn’t stand for any version of the DREAM Act that provides any legal status to any undocumented person. He was quick to distance himself from any criticisms of Rubio specifically, but Kobach did make clear that any form of permanent residency is amnesty, and he doesn’t support that:

KOBACH: Amnesty would be giving any person who is here illegally lawful presence of any sort in an en masse way. You know, there are individual cases which are not amnesty, but when it’s done en masse to a whole category of people, then yeah that’s amnesty.

THINKPROGRESS: So there’s been a lot of talk, no specific language yet, about a Rubio DREAM Act.

KOBACH: I just don’t want to comment on a Rubio DREAM Act, cause I just don’t know what it is [...] and, you know, he says he doesn’t want it to be an amnesty so I’ll take him at his word and we’ll see.

TP: So, but if it does provide legal residency without citizenship, would you consider that amnesty?

KOBACH: Yeah.

TP: And so you wouldn’t support that at all?

KOBACH: Not if it provides legal residency en masse to people who are illegally in the country.

TP: Do you think if he does, that would disqualify him to be Vice President in your mind?

KOBACH: I don’t know, I mean, who knows.

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If Rubio is a serious contender for the VP slot, he likely will have to water down his bill even more than he claims to fit the campaign’s hard line on immigration — Romney is already playing coy about Rubio’s DREAM Act. If Rubio’s bill won’t please Kobach, Romney is going to need to shake his Etch-A-Sketch again to keep up with his latest favorite’s immigration policy.

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