January 12, 2016

Miami activists stage protest to kick off Florida legislative session

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@PatriciaMazzei

A group of progressive Miami activists marked the start of Florida's annual lawmaking session Monday by protesting outside the district office of a Republican state representative.

More than a dozen activists brought together by the SEIU Florida labor union convened reporters to blast the GOP on a variety of issues, including for trying to crack down on illegal immigration and not raising the minimum wage. They stood in the rain outside the Doral office of Rep. Carlos Trujillo, who is sponsoring legislation that would make it a first-degree felony for someone with a deportation order to continue living in Florida.

"They may think that we don't vote, that we don't have a voice," said Maria Bilbao, who has been in the country illegally for 15 years. But she pledged to knock on voters' doors to oppose politicians like Trujillo and pointed to her son, a legal resident eager to apply for citizenship and, eventually, vote. "He will remember how they treated his parents all these years."

Laura Pierre, a fast-food worker, backed a $15-an-hour minimum wage: "We work hard, and we deserve to be able to raise our families out of these terrible circumstances," she said.

The activists have organized buses of supporters to ride to Tallahassee during the session make their case.

January 11, 2016

Jeb Bush allies hit Marco Rubio on immigration

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio is cast as an immigration flip-flopper in the latest TV ad by Right to Rise USA, the super PAC backing Jeb Bush for president.

The 30-second spot, titled "Vane," features a figure of Rubio, smiling and wearing a suit and tie, as an animated weather vane atop a barn, pointing his arm sometimes "East" and sometimes "West."

"He ran for saying he opposed amnesty, then he flipped, and worked with liberal Chuck Schumer to co-author the path to citizenship bill," a narrator says. "He threatened to vote against it, and then voted for it. He supported his own Dream Act, and then he abandoned it. Marco Rubio, just another Washington poltiician you can't trust."

Fall leaves swirl in front of a bucolic, rural setting (Iowa!), and then a train roars by: "Jeb Bush: He's a leader, so you always know where he stands." It makes no mention of where Bush actually stands: He supports the eventual legalization for immigrants in the country illegally, and at one point also backed citizenship (but doesn't now).

Rubio made a point to talk about his immigration stance in a Miami rally Sunday.

The ad will air beginning Monday night in Iowa, South Carolina and on Fox News nationally, according to Right to Rise.

 

Obama's broken promise on path to citizenship

President Barack Obama's promise to create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants has faced a major roadblock due to resistance in Congress.

He took steps on his own to give temporary status to certain illegal immigrants, but he has not gone as far as providing a path to citizenship.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to support support "a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens."

In 2012, Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gives temporary status for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. Almost 700,000 have been approved for DACA and about 443,000 have renewed their two-year deferral. But this program does not provide permanent lawful status to applicants.

Keep reading about Obama's promise from PolitiFact's Obameter.

Marco Rubio on his immigration stance: 'None of this is anti-immigrant'

@PatriciaMazzei

Maybe it was because Marco Rubio was back home in diverse Miami. Maybe it was because pro-immigrant activists had interrupted him half a dozen times a day earlier in South Carolina. Maybe it was because the stark divide among Republican primary voters over immigration hasn't gone away.

Whatever the reason, Rubio lingered on immigration policy -- the issue that threw him into the GOP political spotlight as a U.S. Senator from Florida -- at some length at a campaign rally Sunday night.

He tried to take a position appealing to the GOP electoral base, justifying his sharper immigration rhetoric as an urgent matter of national security. But he was also appeared keen to sound like a potential general-election candidate who is not "anti-immigrant," he said -- in part because he feels like one of them.

Here's a transcript of the relevant portion of his remarks:

I tell people, there's no one running for president that understands this issue better than me. My father was an immigrant. My mother was an immigrant. My grandparents are immigrants. More than half the people in this room are either immigrants or in their first generation. All of my neighbors are immigrants. I was raised around it. My wife's entire family are immigrants. I know this issue: I know the good, the bad, the ugly. I know the story of people who are here illegally and it would break your heart. And I know the people that are here legally, and their story would boil your blood, because they take advantage of us. We see that happening now. This has to be dealt with. 

Continue reading "Marco Rubio on his immigration stance: 'None of this is anti-immigrant'" »

January 07, 2016

Obama's mixed record on cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants

Years before efforts to overhaul immigration laws stalled in Congress, President Barack Obama made promises of his own to address illegal immigration.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to "remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

We rated Obama's promise a Compromise in July 2009 after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said companies seeking government contracts would have to use a government database called E-Verify to ensure that their employees are legal. At the same time, she announced that the administration was getting rid of a Bush administration effort to force all types of companies to fire undocumented workers.

Now that Obama is nearing the end of his term, we're taking another look at the progress of Obama's promise. We found that Obama's progress on this promise has been mixed at best.

See how PolitiFact rated Obama's progress on our Obameter.

January 06, 2016

Marco Rubio vs. Ted Cruz on immigration

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Marco Rubio insists he and Ted Cruz have the same position on securing the border before even thinking about changing the legal status of millions of illegal immigrants already here.

Cruz says that's revisionist balderdash: Rubio championed the bipartisan path-to-citizenship plan in 2013, which Cruz adamantly opposed.

Neither one tells the full story.

Their fight escalated during a recent GOP debate, when Rubio asked Cruz to explain if he supports legal status for illegal immigrants.

"I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization," Cruz said Dec. 15.

Confused about where Rubio and Cruz stand on immigration? Here are five questions and answers to clear up the fight from PolitiFact Florida.

December 28, 2015

Cubans stranded in Costa Rica shouldn't get 'free entry' into U.S., Jeb Bush says

@PatriciaMazzei

Costa Rica has moved to deport 56 Cuban migrants stranded along its border on their way to the U.S.

That's a local issue in heavily Cuban-American Miami-Dade County -- which means Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked about the issue by a Spanish-language reporter after his Hialeah campaign rally Monday.

"The rule of law must be respected," Bush said. "I don't know their exact condition there, but they don't have -- they shouldn't have, and I don't think they do have -- free entry into this country. We have to have an immigration system based on the law, and if those laws don't work, to change the law."

Bush was also asked about U.S. plans to step up deportations of immigrants in the country illegally, beginning in January.

He gave a similar answer.

"This has to be resolved lawfully," the former Florida governor said. "Congress must pass immigration reform. When I'm president that's exactly what I'm going to do. President Obama has had seven years to work with Congress. He hasn't done it. He wants to have this as part of a political plan to win votes."

December 20, 2015

Marco Rubio: Ted Cruz doesn't get to call himself 'purist' on immigration

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio seized on an interview Sunday with CBS News' Face the Nation to bash Republican presidential rival Ted Cruz over immigration.

Rubio defended going after the Texas senator's complicated history with whether immigrants in the country illegally should obtain some sort of legal status, saying it was fair game because Cruz had miscast himself as more ideologically pure than the rest of the GOP candidates.

" I think when you spend your whole time telling people you are a clear talker and you say what you mean, and everyone else is a sellout, but you're the only purist, I think it is fair to say hold on a second," Rubio told host John Dickerson in a pre-taped interview. "Here is where you have been in the past on some issues, and here is where you are now."

 

November 20, 2015

Rick Scott, GOP govs ask for no more Syrian refugees in letter to Obama

The 27 Republican governors who earlier this week opposed Syrian refugees settling in their states -- including Florida's Rick Scott -- are taking up a united front.

On Friday, they sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to suspend resettlement of refugees from Syria nationwide in light of attacks in France last week.

Other southern governors signed on the list, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Greg Abbot of Texas and Nathan Deal of Georgia. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, the only Democrat to join the anti-refugee talk, did not join.

States have no power to refuse refugees, legal experts say. PolitiFact has answered five key questions about Syrian refugees, including about the screening process they undergo before entering the couuntry.

Below is the full text of the letter from the governors. The list of governors is included on the full document here.

Continue reading "Rick Scott, GOP govs ask for no more Syrian refugees in letter to Obama" »

Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim about feds sending Syrians to states with GOP governors

As growing numbers of governors including Florida's Rick Scott were expressing opposition to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their state, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump raised the ante in an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.

Trump charged that the Obama administration is deliberately trying to resettle Syrian refugees in states with Republican governors while sparing states that have Democratic governors.

"They send them to the Republicans, not to the Democrats, you know, because they know the problems," Trump said on Nov. 17, 2015. "In California, you have a Democrat as a governor (Jerry Brown). In Florida, you have Rick Scott (a Republican). So you know they send them to the Republicans because you know why would we want to bother the Democrats? It's just insane. Taking these people is absolutely insanity."

Is the administration sending refugees to Republican-led states but not Democratic ones? In a word, no.

See what Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact found.