Opinion

Commentary: Rubio's views differ from many Hispanics

Is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio anti-Hispanic?

It's an obnoxious question, considering that Rubio is Cuban-American. An impertinent reporter (I swear it wasn't me) asked it after a recent debate in which Rubio said he favors making English the official language of the United States. Backed by key supporter U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the proposed measure would not require the government to provide ballots and other documents in Spanish.

During the debate aired by the Spanish-language network Univision, Rubio also defended Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants, opposed allowing undocumented workers to earn legal status and rejected a bill that would grant citizenship to their children who attend college or serve in the military.

These positions put Rubio -- riding a conservative backlash against President Barack Obama to the head of the Senate race -- at odds with a majority of Hispanics, prominent Hispanic Republicans, and his political mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Former Sen. Mel Martinez, whose early resignation opened the door to Rubio's campaign, was best known for championing immigration reform. The rallying cry from Rubio, the front-runner to take his seat, is to "secure the border."

Martinez, the first Cuban-American senator, voted in favor of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. "As an Hispanic American, I take great pride in Judge Sotomayor's historic achievement," he said at the time. Rubio opposed her nomination.

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