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June 19, 2012

Top Senate Democrat: Republicans have "phony outrage" over immigration

Following President Barack Obama's move last week to let some young illegal immigrants stay in the U.S., immigration as a political issue is back in Congress, in a big way. And especially for Florida lawmakers.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Stuart, introduced a bill today that would block the administration's directive. (The administration's plan allows young illegal immigrants who were raised in the United States to remain for two years under a deferred deportation.)

Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, is pressing ahead with his own legislation to help such DREAM Act-eligible kids.

And Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who never had a immigration bill in writing for people to vet, says Obama should have called him about working on immigration legislation. He told ABC News that the president's proposal "just gets him through the election. "The White House never called us about this. No one reached out to us and told us this was on its way. And, I mean, if they were serious about a real solution to this problem and not politicizing it, then why don’t you reach out to people."

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told Republicans today that they had their chance to be a part of something big -- and still do. He singled out Rubio in particular for what he called "phony outrage" over the administration's move.

"In the past, Republicans have expressed broad support for the principles of President Obama’s directive," Reid said. "And Senator Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, has even talked up a similar idea to the press for months, although he never actually produced a proposal."

Republicans are "taking their marbles and going home," Reid said.

"Since Friday, leading Republican voices on immigration reform have all but ceded the debate until after the election. Republicans who once favored a permanent solution for America’s broken immigration system are now abandoning efforts to find common ground," he said. "And the same Republicans who complained they weren’t involved enough in the President’s decision are now giving up any involvement in the broader immigration conversation."

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