An alliance of activists and lobbyists on behalf of undocumented immigrants said on Tuesday that they would monitor Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) participation in the bipartisan push for immigration reform.
“He does have a lot to lose,” Pamela Gómez, of the DREAM Action Coalition told The Raw Story, alluding to one factor in Rubio’s rising status in the Republican party: his ability to attract the increasingly-valuable Latino vote.
Rubio, who is scheduled to deliver the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, is also part of the senatorial “Group of 8” that has proposed a bipartisan plan to introduce a clearer path to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“We want to make sure Rubio hears from his community,” she said. “We’re making sure to have calls in to his office. Massive marches. We’re looking for all the ways that he can listen to the community’s call for comprehensive immigration reform.”
A call to Rubio’s Washington, D.C. office seeking comment was not returned by the time of publication on Tuesday.
The proposal by Rubio and the seven other Republican and Democratic senators calls for unspecified guidelines on border security, subject to approval by a separate panel, has aroused suspicion from various immigrant groups, who point to a net-zero immigration rate from Mexico and the Obama administration’s record-setting number of deportations as signs that the border is tight enough already, at a high human cost.
“As we’ve seen before, the over-militarizing of the border is something that is not working,” said Louie Cortes, an undocumented activist and law student at the University of Idaho. “In fact, what we’ve seen more is, because of the over-militarization of the border, and the lack of accountability, a lot of, not just civil rights, but human rights violations, that have been happening.”
Though they said they have a more direct tie to Rubio as a fellow Latino, members of the coalition said they would not spare Obama or Democrats aligned with Rubio, like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), from further scrutiny.
“2014 is not so far away, and 2016 is not too far away,” said coalition member Cesar Vargas.
The group’s promise to monitor Rubio’s next move comes days after his latest run-in with the Spanish-language network Univision, which has reported enough of an increase in viewership to mark it as a legitimate rival to U.S. networks.
The Miami Herald reported last week, the executive assistant to Univision Vice President of News Daniel Coronell posted a diatribe against the Florida senator on an aide’s Facebook page, calling Rubio “a token slave boy” and “a loser” and requesting he “do us a favor and stay home [Tuesday.]” The network subsequently took the comment down. The network’s owner, Haim Saban, has also criticized Rubio publicly, accusing him in 2011 of having “an anti-Hispanic stand.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]