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Marco Rubio faces criticism over opposition to including immigrants in the Census.

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"Marco Rubio faces criticism over opposition to including immigrants in the Census."

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Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio This week, Republican Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio accused his opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, of trying to “dilute the voting power of every American citizen” through his support of including immigrants in this year’s Census count. However, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that Rubio took a much softer stance as little as a week ago:

When asked whether illegal immigrants should count on things like the number of seats that Florida should have in Congress, Rubio initially said last week that he was not sure and that he wanted to “research it more.”

“I think there’s good arguments on both sides of it,” said Rubio, a former House speaker and Republican from Miami. Rubio, however, also said that the census should have an “accurate count” in order to know how “bad of an immigration problem we have.”

Crist has remarked that Rubio’s “notion that you wouldn’t want to accept federal funding to make a political point is absurd.” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) stated, “It [not counting undocumented immigrants] would be pretty damaging to Florida. … Pretending they’re not there, not counting them, doesn’t make them go away.” State Rep. Dean Cannon commented that “it’s just important that the count be accurate regardless of their [immigrant] status.” Even Rubio supporter State Rep. Esteban Bovo (R) said, “So much funding is tied to the Census, and to be undercounted could have devastating effects down the line. … I really don’t want our community to get shortchanged.” Rubio later backtracked on his remarks to clarify that he was only referring to undocumented immigrants, not green card-holders like his Cuban immigrant parents once were.

More at the Wonk Room.

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