Monday, November 02, 2015

Leading Chicago Latino: Rubio ‘callous’ on immigration

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia
Marco Rubio wants to change the very immigration system that allowed his family to migrate to the United States from Cuba.

And the Republican presidential candidate’s call in the CNBC debate last week for a move from immigration based on family ties to a merit evaluation won’t sit well with the Latino community, says Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County (Illinois) Commissioner whose progressive campaign forced a run-off in the recent Chicago mayoral campaign.

“It seems rather inconsistent and callous because I think immigration in America has always had a connection to family,” Garcia, a Chicago political veteran who drew national attention with his challenge to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said in an interview with this newspaper in Des Moines Saturday.

Ending family chain migration abruptly doesn’t make sense, Garcia said.

“Family is a great connector of people who are being productive and contributing to this country,” Garcia said. “While it shouldn’t be the only factor in determining who can come here, it has to remain one of the central facets of our immigration system.”

Garcia, who dramatically boosted Latino turnout in his mayoral bid, said it is going to be challenging for Rubio to maintain his position on immigration.

“It may be beneficial to him in winning the Republican nomination,” Garcia said. “But in a general election it will come back to bite him.”

The topic of uniting families is “near and dear” to Latinos, Garcia said.

In CNBC debate Rubio called for a major overhaul to the immigration system.

“Today, we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on whether or not you have a relative living here.,” Rubio said. “And that’s the way my parents came legally in 1956. But in 2015, we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically.”

Garcia attended the League of United Latin American Citizens dinner and awards banquet at the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn where he, among other things, advocated for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.

Sanders doesn’t take money from Super PACs, and that’s key, Garcia said in a speech.

“Big special interests have come to dominate politics in our country,” he said, adding that he has been a “long-time admirer” of Sanders’ politics.

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