In another sign that Marco Rubio’s self-serving political agenda is alienating immigrant communities across the state, Burmese American leader Daniel Nay Hlaing, the founder of the Jacksonville Myanmar Association, called out Marco Rubio for failing to stand with the Burmese people in a new op-ed in the Miami Herald.
Even worse, Hlaing faults Rubio for prioritizing partisan politics over his support for those suffering under the brutal repression of the Burmese military, accusing him of “snubbing The Burma Act of 2021 for partisan reasons.”
The Burmese community in Florida was disheartened when the most consequential piece of Burma legislation since the early 2000s was introduced earlier this month without Rubio as a co-sponsor. More surprising, he seems to be snubbing The Burma Act of 2021 for partisan reasons.
Large numbers of Burmese refugees began moving to Florida in the early 2000s, with thousands of us settling in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota and Miami. Thoroughly grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy in America and deeply tied to our Christian and Buddhist faiths, many of us have found a home in the Republican Party.
Many activists are losing hope and giving up their pro-democracy efforts so that they can survive and make ends meet for themselves and their families. The international community must support and encourage these activists and civil societies in the strongest ways possible.
We feel helpless, wondering what more we can do and who will help. At the same time, Congress has given us a rare reason for hope. Introduced on Oct 5 by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland, the Burma Act provides some hope to our communities through increases in humanitarian aid and targeted sanctions on key sectors and individuals.
Republicans in the House have lent their support through cosponsoring and allowing the bill to pass through committee with the unanimous consent of all of both Democrats and Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But while we wait for the Senate to agree on this bill, our families in Burma are dying. We need Rubio to live up to his image and reach across the aisle to bring a resolution to the gridlock in the Senate over what should be an easily bipartisan bill…Otherwise, he stands to alienate thousands of Burmese Republicans in Florida on the issue that is most dear to them.