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June 08, 2012 10:58 AM “DREAM Act Lite” Not Mitt’s Salvation Among Latinos

By Ed Kilgore

There’s been buzz among Republicans for a good while that Mitt Romney’s chronic problems among Latino voters, buttressed by his macho cryto-nativist talk during the primaries, might be significantly mitigated if his party found a way to support anything positive on the immigration front. To the rescue, we’ve been told, is coming Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been working on some version of the DREAM Act providing educational benefits for the do-be children of undocumented immigrants, but not a path to actual citizenship (i.e., the “amnesty” forbidden by Romney’s conservative masters).

Latino Decisions has now done a survey comparing descriptions of the actual DREAM Act as sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin with Rubio’s DREAM Lite (also a general description, since Rubio is still fiddling with it), and it’s not close:

Overall, our survey found 87% of Latinos strongly or somewhat supported the Durbin version of the DREAM Act, compared to just 10% who were strongly or somewhat opposed. In contrast, we find a split on the Rubio version of DREAM with 49% of Latinos in support and 46% opposed….
So after hearing each of these two versions of the DREAM Act on their own, we asked respondents to compare the two versions and tell us which, if any they preferred more. Among Latinos, 82% said they preferred the Durbin DREAM Act to only 13% who preferred the Rubio DREAM Act.

Keep in mind that Mitt Romney hasn’t even indicated he will support DREAM Lite. If he does, it’s not going to be a silver bullet. And his problems with Latino voters remain pretty dire: the same Latino Decisions survey found him trailing Obama 66-23, almost identical to his standing last fall, and congruent with the final 67-31 Obama win in this demographic in 2008.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Perspecticus on June 08, 2012 11:18 AM:

    "Keep in mind that Mitt Romney hasnít even indicated he will support DREAM Lite. If he does, itís not going to be a silver bullet. And his problems with Latino voters remain pretty dire: the same Latino Decisions survey found him trailing Obama 66-23, almost identical to his standing last fall, and congruent with the final 67-31 Obama win in this demographic in 2008."

    If only there was some way to keep a large number of Hispanics and Latinos from voting this November...

  • T-Rex on June 08, 2012 11:44 AM:

    Perspecticus, you took the words right out of my keyboard. ALEC better get busy in states with high Hispanic populations, passing elaborate voter ID requirements.

  • liam foote on June 08, 2012 12:16 PM:

    Even conservative Hispanic voters, of which there are many, obviously support Mr. Obama's two prong approach. (1) Reward the best and the brightest via legislation such as the DREAM Act and (2) prioritize immigration enforcement to target and remove the criminals, including violent gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha, within Latino communities. Immigration reform must begin somewhere and this is a good start.

  • RalfW on June 08, 2012 1:13 PM:

    Well, what little support Mitt would gain in Lation circles would probably be offset by wingers freaking out about AMNESTY! and other lies if DREAM Lite got Mitt's tepid, rubber flip-flop support.

  • Diane Rodriguez on June 08, 2012 2:32 PM:

    Marco Rubio represents a very small constituency, primarily based in Florida - Cubans. He does not reflect the positions of Mexican Americans (and other Central Americans) who comprise the vast majority of Hispanic voters in the US. But that's all good. The Republicans, in their all out embrace of racism and ignorance, continue to push Rubio as the 2nd Hispanic coming. That most assuredly works in the Democrats' favor.
    The Republican Dream Act is more like no health care for people of color and mandatory birth control.

  • mars on June 12, 2012 7:13 AM:

    BOTH PARTIES ARE PLAYING GAMES SINCE 2001. it has been almost 12 years that they been talking about legalizing these people, but haven't done anything! republicans who are bringing in their bills now in an election year only attracting some Latino voters!penalty those employers who knowingly and willingly hire illegals for cheap labor, for these employers a guest program could be created. everyone should protest white house and congress to act and act now! secure borders, allow decent amount of immigrants to fill the labor hole or professional holes and allow those who are already in this country legal! demand this NOW!!!!! all these ideas could be from both parties could be in one DAMN BILL !!!! ASK FOR COMPROMISE FROM BOTH PARTIES SO THEY CAN FINALLY DO THIS. THEY ARE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES, ESPECIALLY YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO THINK OF THIS COUNTRY AS THEIR OWN COUNTRY, WHO ONLY SPEAK ENGLISH AND WHO DON'T KNOW ANY OTHER COUNTRY BUT THIS! COME ONNNNN.........