Cuban American Republicans from Miami are standing up to say they support the DREAM Act. Going agaist the current conservative trending of their party, these Republicans are backing a bill that would give a break to children of illegal immigrants. Comments by Republican U.S. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Cuban-Americans from Miami, in support of the proposed DREAM Act have encouraged reform advocates.
Diaz-Balart—who refused to sign the Republican Contract with America in the 1990s because he thought it embraced anti-immigrant policies—called upon House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the DREAM Act to a vote during the lame-duck session.
America’s Voice – a Washington advocacy group pushing hard for broader reforms that include a path to citizenship for millions of illegal residents – also cited support for the DREAM Act from Republican congressman-elect David Rivera of Miami.
“The drumbeat is getting louder,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice. “Now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate and secure America’s future with the extremely popular, bipartisan DREAM Act.”
Cuban-Americans are not directly affected by most immigration legislation because they are given legal status once they set foot in this country. The Cuban-Americans in Congress, nonetheless, represent large numbers of immigrants from other countries and often express solidarity with their causes.
The Cuban-Americans typically vote the same as their Republican colleagues on most issues but often follow a different path on immigration matters. Diaz-Balart, who is retiring from Congress, represents a district that includes parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.