Hispanics see that as fair, said Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network. But advocates fear something short of that will shake out.
“One of the things we shouldn’t accept is having a permanent group of people in the United States who are in legal limbo or are in a different category that doesn’t allow them to participate in the future of America,” Diaz-Balart said. “Some say it’s too difficult a lift. I understand. If it was easy, we would have done it a long time ago.
“It’s always risky, but that’s why people elect us. We have to lead,” he continued.
“He’s been a great ally,” said Chris Espinosa, national advocacy director for the Hispanic Federation, which wants a comprehensive overhaul. “There’s a recognition among the GOP that if they want to be relevant moving into the future, they need to address the issues in the Hispanic community. We want to have a substantive dialogue. I don’t think Sen. Rubio is there yet, but I’m hopeful he will be.”
Rubio said he doesn’t want a second class of residents, either, but acknowledges his own difficulty on the issue. “I don’t have a magic answer for that. We’re not going to deport 11 million people, but we’re also not going to grant blanket amnesty to 11 million people.
“Somewhere between those two positions is a workable solution that deals with this issue in a responsible and humane way but doesn’t encourage illegal immigration in the future and doesn’t punish or is unfair to the people that have done it the right way,” Rubio said. “We forget that there are millions of people that are waiting to come into this country legally.”