Gov. Rick Scott appears to be on board with Rep. Carlos Curbelo's plan to bypass House Speaker Paul Ryan to force a slew of immigration votes, putting the Republican running for Bill Nelson's U.S. Senate seat in line with Democrats and a small group of moderate Republicans.
But while Scott offered support for Curbelo's idea to force action, it isn't clear what types of immigration policies he would champion in the U.S. Senate if elected.
"We need to secure our borders and help these kids. Congress needs to get DACA legislation done. Thanks Congressman Curbelo for fighting for this," Scott tweeted on Thursday night.
Scott's campaign confirmed that he supports the Miami Republican's effort to force votes in Congress but did not offer an endorsement for specific immigration-related bills.
Scott has said in the past that he doesn't support deporting 1.8 million immigrants who came to the United States illegally as young children, a position that most Republicans and President Donald Trump share.
Scott has also demanded that Congress pass legislation that protects the young immigrants from deportation while securing the border, a wide-ranging policy position that could include a bill promoted by Donald Trump that failed to garner 40 votes in the U.S. Senate earlier this year and a bipartisan proposal called the USA Act that provides a pathway to citizenship for the young immigrants while also providing funding for a "smart wall" at the U.S.-Mexico border.
It's not clear where Scott stands on four immigration-related bills that failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this year. Two bipartisan compromises received a simple majority but failed to clear the required 60-vote hurdle after a majority of Republicans voted against them, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The bill promoted by the White House, which provided a path to citizenship in exchange for border security funding and cuts to legal immigration, received 39 votes in the Senate.
Nelson voted in favor of the two bipartisan compromise bills and voted against the Trump-sponsored bill.
Curbelo's immigration petition, if successful, would force a series of votes on four immigration bills. The first bill is a conservative plan that most moderate Republicans do not support. The second bill is the Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for the young immigrants without requiring border security funding. The third bill is the USA Act and the fourth bill is a bill of Speaker Ryan's choosing.
Scott has said in the past he does not support the Dream Act. As a first-time candidate for governor in 2010, Scott was a hard-liner on immigration who was in favor of an Arizona-style law to crack down on illegal immigrants, and in 2013 he vetoed a bill that made the young immigrants known as Dreamers eligible for state-issued driver’s licenses in Florida.
The House of Representatives has avoided voting on immigration legislation since Republicans took control in 2011, including refusing to take up a comprehensive immigration plan passed by the U.S. Senate in 2013.