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Rubio’s new message to DREAMers: You aren’t worth it

Rubio positioned himself as a champion of DREAMers. That was then.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), in an interview with Fox News Tuesday morning, blamed Democrats for a potential government shut down over their efforts to negotiate a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Trump.

There is a lot of political posturing on the Democrat side […] Here is the bottom line: you can’t shut down the American government over DACA. You can’t be against anything because of the building of a wall,” said Rubio. “We have a fundamental obligation. Even if there was no DACA, even if there were no illegal immigrants in the United States, we still have a fundamental obligation to keep our country safe and a physical border on significant portions of the southern border is key part of that.”

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Rubio has, in the past, supported granting legal status to undocumented individuals. He was one of the eight senators in the “Gang of Eight to introduce a comprehensive bill that included both enforcement measures and a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.” In 2013, when approached in the halls of Congress by mothers of DREAMers Rubio told them, “I’m with you guys…I am the author of this bill, this proposal. I don’t understand why you keep asking me to commit myself. What more can I commit?”

The Rubio of 2018, however, echoes the Rubio of 2015, who during the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference conceded he shifted his views on immigration and believes a bill focused only on border security is the “only way forward.

The Trump administration in September formally ended DACA, an Obama-era program which shielded nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 from deportation and provided work authorization. Congress, however, was given a six month window to come up with a legislative fix, without one, some DACA recipients could risk losing legal status starting on March 5. After Trump announced his plan to end DACA, each day 120 DACA recipients lose protection from deportation.

Democrats have outlined their demands for a DACA fix without funding for a border wall after the current short-term stopgap spending bill expires on January 19.

The president has chosen to end the legal statuses for hundreds of thousands DACA recipients in exchange for his huge, expensive wall along the southern border. But Trump’s bargaining chip is unpopular. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 62 percent of Americans oppose the construction of a wall, while 86 percent support letting DREAMers stay in the United States.