Marco Rubio Wants to "Re-Examine" Cubans' Fast-Track to Citizenship

Everyone already hates Marco Rubio, from Tea Party activists who think his immigration bill is too liberal to LGBT activists who think it's too conservative. So why not alienate Cuban voters too?

This seems like a surefire way to piss off Miami exilios at least. Rubio now says Cubans' 47-year-old fast track to citizenship should be "re-examined."

Rubio told a gathering of newspaper editors last night that considering how easy it is for Cuban-Americans to go back to visit relatives on the island, their special political exile status doesn't make a lot of sense anymore.

"I don't criticize anyone who wants to go visit their mom or dad or their dying brother or sister in Cuba," Rubio said, the Tampa Bay Times reports. "But I am telling you, it gets very difficult to justify someone's status as an exile and refugee when a year and a half after they get here, they are flying back to that country over and over again."

That's a sentiment that every other immigrant group in the United States has surely felt at one time or another, but it's also a major stick in the eye to one of Rubio's biggest bases in South Florida.

Before the mob gets too riled outside Versailles, though, bear in mind that Rubio didn't actually bother to do anything about his new doubts on Cuban immigration status.

The reform bill that's likely to pass the Senate doesn't touch the Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants habaneros their special status.

Why not? "It just hasn't come up in this conversation," explains Rubio, the bill's public face and major author.

In other words: Criticizing Cuban immigration status is one thing. Actually doing something about it would be a whole other leap for Rubio.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink