May 11, 2015

Jeb Bush, like Marco Rubio, wouldn't undo Obama immigration order right away

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush indicated in an interview to air Monday that he would wait until Congress pass an immigration overhaul before repealing President Obama's executive orders temporarily allowing some people in the country illegally to stay.

Bush reiterated to Fox News' Megyn Kelly that he would undo Obama's orders known as DACA and DAPA. DAPA isn't in place yet because it's been challenged in court, but DACA is. When Kelly asked Bush how he would undo that order, according to a transcript of the recorded interview, he said: "Passing meaningful reform of immigration and make it part of it."

The former Florida governor, a still-undeclared 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, had said in a Seattle radio interview last month that he would repeal both orders, noting that DAPA has yet to be implemented. "The better answer is to fix the immigration problem," Bush said at the time.

Bush's position sounds a lot like Marco Rubio's. The Florida senator, who is already a formal presidential candidate, has said he would do away with DAPA right away if it doesn't die in court first but leave DACA in place at first while pushing Congress to pass immigration legislation.

"At some point, it's going to have to end -- that can't become the permanent policy of the United States -- but on the short term I've said I won't remove it," Rubio told CNN en Español last month. "I would eliminate DAPA, the new measure, and I would use the position of president to advance a responsible immigration-reform process."

May 01, 2015

Jeb Bush to conservative journal: 'You're wrong on immigration'

via @lesleyclark

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush defended his support for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants before a conservative audience Thursday, saying his critics are simply wrong.

The expected Republican presidential contender’s stance on immigration and Common Core education standards have proven a sticking point with conservatives, but Bush says the opposition is misplaced.

"I love you and I love National Review, I just think you're wrong on immigration," Bush told National Review editor Rich Lowry, who moderated an hour long session with the former Florida governor. “You think I'm wrong."

Bush said an immigration overhaul is critical to restoring the U.S. economy. He said he backs narrowing the number of immigrants who arrive for family reasons, and expanding the number of economic immigrants.

“If you’re going to grow at 4 percent per year, rather than 2 percent, you need younger, more dynamic people,” he said. “You can’t do it with a declining population.”

Continue reading "Jeb Bush to conservative journal: 'You're wrong on immigration'" »

April 24, 2015

The careful line Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush walk on immigration reform

@PatriciaMazzei

NASHUA, N.H. -- Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have turned explaining their similar positions on immigration reform into a political art form.

Secure the border, they grovel to conservatives worried about “amnesty.” Get a better grip on people come into the country legally with visas, in case they overstay them. Give legal priority to immigrants who can contribute to the economy. Then — and only then! — should the U.S. grant legal status to many of the nearly 11 million people inside the country without authorization.

“We need to control our border first of all,” Bush said last week at a political breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“The American people, they understand we have an issue that has to be confronted,” Rubio said at a Manchester house party a few hours later. “But they’re not willing to do it or even talk about it until you show them — not tell them, you better show them — that illegal immigration is under control.”

That’s what grass-roots Republican voters want to hear. But they remain skeptical of Rubio and Bush, at least in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary next year after the Iowa caucuses. Neither state is known for its demographic diversity: The population of both states is more than 93 percent white in both states, according to the U.S. Census, and only 5 percent of residents are foreign-born.

Immigration presents a challenge for Bush, the former Florida governor who has yet to declare his 2016 presidential candidacy, and Rubio, the U.S. senator who’s already running. Both back granting legal status to the nearly 11 million people already in the country illegally.

More here.

April 14, 2015

Did Marco Rubio vote to deport Dreamers?

On the day Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced his presidential campaign, opponents came out with an ad attacking his record.

People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, released a Spanish-language radio ad that calls Rubio "just another Republican with a dangerous plan" and claims he supports tax cuts for the wealthy and cutting Medicare funding. The ad is set to run in Denver and Miami, Rubio’s hometown.

The ad also pits Rubio against "Dreamers" -- young people who arrived in the United States illegally as children who have been granted temporary status for deferred deportation under a 2012 White House program.

"Instead of giving Dreamers an opportunity to go to college and build a future, Marco Rubio voted to deport them," the ad’s narrator said.

Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, has long been an advocate for changing immigration law, including a path to citizenship. Did he really vote to deport the approximately 700,000 immigrants covered by this program?

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found and see our full Truth-O-Meter record for Rubio.

April 07, 2015

North Miami, Tampa among cities backing Obama's executive action on immigration

via @learyreports

The cities of Tampa and North Miami have signed onto a friend-of-the-court petition asking for "immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration."

Tampa and North Miami are the first cities in Florida to join the effort, according to the Florida Immigrant Coalition, which estimates 253,000 Florida residents would benefit. Obama's action is designed to prevent the deportation of otherwise law abiding people.

A number of states, including Florida, have sued the federal government to prevent the executive action. More than 70 cities have joined the counter effort.

"We commend the Mayors from Tampa and North Miami for taking this step in favor of our families, workers and economy; more cities and counties should make similar statements,” said Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Why would Attorney General Pam Bondi go out of her way, with our taxdollars, to add Florida to this lawsuit? This temporary relief from deportation for parents of U.S. citizens represents a life-changing measure for tens of thousands of Floridian families. To stop this relief is hurtful to not only our families, but to our pocketbook. We urge her to reconsider her position and withdraw from the lawsuit for the well-being of Florida’s families and economy.”

Critics say Obama exceeded his authority.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 01, 2015

Senate reverses itself on immigration lawsuit

The Florida Senate voted Wednesday to block Attorney General Pam Bondi from challenging President Obama's executive action on immigration.

And then it changed its mind.

The change of heart happened during a discussion of the proposed $80.4 billion state budget.

Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, asked to include language prohibiting state money from being used to join a Texas lawsuit against Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program grants temporary deportation relief to undocumented young adults who arrived in the United States as children.

Soto noted that last year, the Senate passed legislation allowing students who are undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities.

"Most of these kids are only here because of this program and they face imminent deportation if it is undermined," Soto said. "This year, we should continue to make a statement our state dollars should not be paid to undermine a policy that we support."

The Senate voted 16-15 to adopt the amendment.

But a few minutes later, Sen. Jack Latvala called for the amendment to be reconsidered.

Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who sponsored the immigrant tuition bill last year, said he had voted for the amendment by accident.

"I momentarily sympathized with [Soto] because I do sympathize with his feelings on that issue," he said.

But Latvala said it is Senate custom for the the leaders of budget subcommittees to support the budget chairman. And Budget Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, opposed the amendment.

"It is a very dangerous, slippery slope that we get on when we start telling our cabinet, particularly our attorney general, where she can weigh in and what resources she can use to do it," Lee said.

When it came time to vote for a second time, the amendment failed on a voice vote.

March 06, 2015

Marco Rubio's claim about immigration and 'insecure' borders

Sen. Marco Rubio said he’s learned some lessons from his first failed foray into the immigration policy game.

"What I’ve learned, is you can’t even have a conversation about that until people believe and know — not just believe, but it’s proven to them — that future illegal immigration will controlled," Rubio said. "That is the single biggest lesson of the last two years."

A big piece of that, Rubio said, is border security, and he gave this stat: "There are at least three sectors of the border, one in particular, that are just completely insecure."

The southwest border spans from San Diego to the southern tip of Texas, and it is broken into nine sectors. Are at least three of those sectors "completely insecure"? Read Steve Contorno's fact-check from PolitiFact.

February 25, 2015

Immigration reform will happen, Obama says in Miami: 'There will be a President Rodriguez'

@PatriciaMazzei

Likening immigration reform to the great civil-rights movements in U.S. history, President Barack Obama vowed during a brief visit to Miami on Wednesday to veto any legislation undoing his executive order protecting from deportation up to 5 million people who are in the country illegally.

“In the short term, if Mr. [Mitch] McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote,” Obama said, almost daring congressional leaders to challenge him. “I will veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do.”

His veto threat was met with rousing applause from the friendly audience assembled at Florida International University, where Obama taped an hour-long town hall-style meeting hosted by Miami-based Telemundo and sister network MSNBC. The event, moderated by bilingual anchor José Díaz-Balart, was later nationally televised on both networks.

McConnell, of Kentucky, wants a stand-alone bill blocking Obama’s 2014 actions, which were supposed to take effect this week but have been stalled by a Texas federal judge. Boehner, of Ohio, is waiting for the Senate’s move, after House Republicans passed a budget for the Homeland Security Department that wouldn’t pay for the president’s plan.

More here.

As Obama visits Miami for immigration town hall, a look back at fact-checks about border security, deportations

President Barack Obama will defend his record on immigration at a town hall at Florida International University today.

The event starts at 3 p.m. and it will air at 7 p.m. on Telemundo and at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.

PolitiFact has fact-checked several claims related to Obama and immigration. Here are a few examples:

A few days before he announced his executive action in November, Obama was asked why he suddenly felt he could use executive action to address immigration issues. Obama said, "My position hasn’t changed." But it had.

Obama spoke several times in recent years about what actions he was able to undertake on immigration. At one point he said, "I am president, I am not king." Later he stated, "I’m not the emperor of the United States."

He may be neither of those things, but he did take sweeping action on immigration in the face of opposition from the Republican-controlled House. So we rated his claim that he hadn’t changed position False.

We also fact-checked Obama’s claim that “the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.”

In 2013, about 420,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the border. The last time it was lower than that was 1972. However, in the 1970s, it was easier for people to make multiple attempts or excursions illegally across the border, undermining the quality of the historical comparison. We rated this claim Half True.

We also checked the claim by José Díaz-Balart, a host of today’s event in Miami and a Telemundo news anchor and MSNBC host.

"Every single day in this country, 1,000 people are deported and the vast majority of those people that are deported aren't criminals."

In 2013, an average of 1,200 people per day were formally removed from the country. But non-criminal removals only slightly outnumbered the removals of those with criminal charges. We rated his claim Half True.

Hear a claim we should fact-check today about immigration? #PolitiFactThis or truthometer@politifact.com

FIU gets TV love before Obama visit

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida International University didn't organize Wednesday evening's immigration event with President Obama. But it's getting plenty of publicity out of it anyway.

Telemundo and MSNBC rented space (for nearly $39,000) at the Graham Center on FIU's main campus to host what the sister TV networks have billed as a town-hall style meeting with the president. The university considers it a private event.

Yet FIU appears to be reaping the benefits of lending its venue. José Díaz-Balart, the Telemundo MSNBC anchor moderating the bilingual discussion with Obama, hosted his morning show, The Rundown, from the event hall and repeatedly named the university. A promotional shot showed the university's campus. And President Mark Rosenberg gave a live interview in which he characterized his school as "the face of American in the next two decades."

"In a very real way, this FIU campus is a microcosm of American society," Díaz-Balart gushed.

On Telemundo's evening newscast Monday, Rosenberg, who is bilingual himself, said in Spanish that Obama's visit will be the first time a sitting president appears at FIU.

Díaz-Balart wrapped up his Rundown broadcast listing "5 Things" about FIU, including that it awards more degrees to Hispanics than any other university in the nation, that Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio teaches there, and that the law school is named after Díaz-Balart's late father, Rafael.