November 14, 2015

In Sunshine Summit speech, Rand Paul hits Marco Rubio on immigration

via @learyreports

ORLANDO -- Sen. Rand Paul used his Sunshine Summit speech to go after Marco Rubio on immigration, accusing the Floridian of teaming in "secret" with Chuck Schumer to block amendments to the 2013 legislation.

"Your senator in fact opposed me," Paul said of a border security amendment.

Paul repeated the charge during a news conference in which he signed paperwork to get on Florida's March 15 primary ballot.

"I have no idea what Senator Paul is talking about," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said. "It would appear Senator Paul is trying to change the subject away from his dangerous isolationist agenda and proposals to cut defense spending."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 13, 2015

Ted Cruz tells crowd at Orlando church that he will build 'a wall that works'

via @learyreports

ORLANDO - “Wow! Wow! God bless the state of Florida. Florida is alive and rockin’” Ted Cruz said as he walked onto the stage at Faith Assembly of God here.

The brash Texas senator capitalized on his trip to the state to hold rally after his appearance at the Sunshine Summit.

"America is crisis. America is receding from leadership in the world,” Cruz said, before saying grassroots activists were beginning to wake up.

Cruz, who walked out to Hail to the Chief, quickly turned to immigration, denouncing an “unholy alliance” between K Street and Wall Street, aided by establishment Republicans, for cheap labor. “None of them are losing their jobs to an illegal immigrant,” Cruz said.

Several hundred people attended the rally, underscoring how Florida is not a given for Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush.

Cruz outlined an immigration plan that begins with building "a wall that works" and tripling the number of Border Patrol agents. It would calls for "aerial surveillance and other technology" to "find and detain all illegal entrants." He vowed to end "sanctuary cities," leading the crowd to stand and chant, "Cruz, Cruz, Cruz."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

PAC says Ted Cruz stopped Marco Rubio's push for 'amnesty'

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s leadership role on a 2013 bill to change immigration laws continues to draw fire for him in the GOP presidential primary.

The Courageous Conservatives PAC, which supports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, has attacked Rubio’s position in a radio ad in Iowa:

"We all loved how Marco Rubio took apart Jeb Bush in the debate. Wasn’t it great? But what’s Rubio ever done? Anything? Other than his Gang of Eight Amnesty bill, can anyone think of anything Marco Rubio’s ever done? Anything at all besides amnesty?" says the narrator who then switches to praise Cruz. "When Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio tried to push amnesty, it was Ted Cruz who stopped them."

We decided to research Cruz’s role in the death of Rubio’s bill, and we’ll explain the problems with labeling it as "amnesty."

See how PolitiFact Florida rated this claim.

November 11, 2015

Another post-debate victory lap for Marco Rubio on TV


For Marco Rubio, the best part of debate night is the morning after.

Sure, he has to get up when it's still dark. But it's for good reason: to be a guest on morning news shows that give candidates who do well the night before a chance to recap their performance. It's to sort of so-called "earned" media -- free exposure, without having to pay for advertising -- that presidential contenders crave.

Wednesday morning, Rubio appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS This Morning, ABC's Good Morning AmericaFox & Friends and NPR's Morning Edition. All asked him about immigration, the question some of his rivals had to tackle Tuesday night that didn't come to him.



On immigration: "This belief that the Hispanic community is in favor of illegal immigration is false. It's just not true.... I think all Americans want to see our immigration system work better. We want to be realistic but responsible about the people that are here illegally."

On Jeb Bush allies planning to go after him: "Obviously if we're attacked we're going to respond."

Continue reading "Another post-debate victory lap for Marco Rubio on TV" »

November 10, 2015

Jeb Bush jumped in and Marco Rubio stayed out of GOP scuffle over immigration, the issue that could still cleave the party

GOP 2016 Debate


Jeb Bush’s best moment in a presidential debate so far came Tuesday night when he did what he promised to do long before he was a formal candidate: stick by his principles even if it means upsetting Republican primary voters.

Bush delivered an impassioned defense of immigration, an issue so toxic with much of the conservative base that on the debate stage it seemed to cleave the primary race into two camps — one with candidates like Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who staked out a relatively moderate position, and another with candidates like real-estate tycoon Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who endorsed far harsher enforcement.

“Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible,” Bush said. “And it’s not embracing American values. And it would tear communities apart. And it would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is.”

“And even having this conversation sends a powerful signal — they’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,” Bush added, to applause. A Hillary Clinton aide did, in fact, confirm high-fives on Twitter.

Cruz thundered in response: “The Democrats are laughing, because if Republicans join Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose.... We should enforce the law. We’re tired of being told it’s anti-immigrant. It’s offensive.”

The exchange, which began with Trump, continued with Kasich and concluded with Bush and Cruz, might have been the most revealing of the fourth Republican primary debate, which took place in Milwaukee and was hosted by Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal.

More here.

Photo credit: Morry Gash, Associated Press

November 04, 2015

Marco Rubio states more clearly that he would end deportation protection for DREAMers

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio today in New Hampshire said he would end the Obama administration's program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

He told reporters he hopes there can be legislation — something he attempted - but if Congress can’t act, “it will end. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States.”

Rubio has made similar calls but those were more nuanced. His statement comes two days after Breitbart News blew up an interview Rubio did with Jorge Ramos in which he also said the program must end “at some point … but I’m not calling for it to be revoked tomorrow or this week or right away.”

Immigrant advocacy groups and Democrats criticized the remarks.

“Marco Rubio just said unequivocally that he would deport DREAMers whether or not Congress passes immigration reform,” read a statement from People For The American Way. “After turning his back on comprehensive immigration reform, this doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s still deeply upsetting that Marco Rubio would be so extreme as to deport children who were raised in the United States and call this country home. There’s no question now that on immigration, Marco Rubio is as extreme as the rest of the Republican Party.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

It's Donald Trump vs. Marco Rubio on immigration reform

via @learyreports

Forget credit cards for the moment: Marco Rubio is fighting with Donald Trump over something that could resonate more with the conservative base: immigration.

“Rubio was totally in favor of very lax rules, he was part of the ‘Gang of 8,’ “ Trump said Wednesday in New Hampshire. “The Gang of 8 means ‘come on in folks, come on in, no one is going to stop you.”

A day earlier, Trump called attention to billionaire Paul Singer’s support for immigration reform. Singer last week said he would back Rubio in the presidential race.

On Fox News this morning, Rubio was asked about Trump winning in Florida and took his own immigration shot.

“Donald was a supporter of amnesty and the DREAM Act, he changed his position on those issues just to run for president," Rubio said. (Background here.)

Rubio’s work on the Senate bill was seen widely by conservatives as embracing amnesty, and he once worked on his own version of the Dream Act. But since the Senate bill collapsed he has moved to the right.

“We are not going to be able to pass a comprehensive approach to the immigration problem,” Rubio said on Good Morning America, a nod to his belief that a piecemeal approach is best.

Asked Democrats: “How can voters trust Marco Rubio after his complete shapeshift from a member of the Gang of 8 that shepherded immigration reform through the Senate to his new role as Republican presidential candidate eager to run to the right of Donald Trump?”

It's not just Democrats. Breitbart News continues to chronicle Rubio's statements on immigration

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

October 20, 2015

Marco Rubio returns to Senate to vote against 'sanctuary' cities

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio isn’t in Washington much, so when he returns, as is the case Tuesday, it’s worth looking at why. The Senate today will take up legislation to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” and Rubio apparently does not want to miss supporting it, even if the measure will likely fail to get the 60 votes to advance.

The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act — which Harry Reid dismisses as the “Donald Trump Act” — is sponsored by Sen. David Vitter. Rubio, whose role in writing the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill continues to hurt him among conservatives, is one of 13 co-sponsors, along with fellow presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

The bill would take away federal law enforcement money from cities that do not detain undocumented immigrants. It was spurred by the shooting death of a 32-year-old woman, Kate Steinle, this summer in San Francisco by a man who had been deported to Mexico five times.

Numbers USA, a group that opposes more immigration, says there are 200 cities and counties across the country that do not automatically cooperate with immigration enforcement. They include Pinellas, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, according to the group.

The House passed a version in July. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is from Rubio’s hometown Miami, called it a waste of time.

“This is a messaging piece of legislation aimed at addressing a very sad, horrible tragedy in San Francisco,” he said. “But this isn’t going to solve the problem. This isn’t going to secure the border. It’s not going to reform our visa system. And it isn’t going to help us identify those who are living in our country illegally.”

Today’s cloture vote is set for 2:15 p.m.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

October 06, 2015

Hillary Clinton says she'd be 'less harsh and aggressive' on deportations


Democrat Hillary Clinton said while in Miami last Friday that the Obama administration deported people in the country illegally "very aggressively" -- and she wouldn't do the same as president;

Clinton told Telemundo in an interview that aired late Monday that President Obama, her former boss, stressed deportations as part of a "strategy" to get Republican support in Congress for immigration legislation.

"I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer," she said.

The Obama administration has said it prioritizes criminal deportations over law-abiding families.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the U.S. has deported fewer people over the past year than any time in the previous decade.

Here's Clinton's answer in full, from a Telemundo transcript.

The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced, you know, very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform.

It was part of a strategy. I think that strategy is no longer workable. So therefore I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer. We need to, of course, take care of felons and violent people. I mean, that goes without saying.

But I have met too many people in our country who were upright, productive people who maybe had some, you know, minor offense.  Like, you know, maybe they were arrested for speeding or they had some kind of, you know, one incident of drunk driving, something like that 25 years ago.

And they were hauled in and deported. And I've met their wives and their children. And I just don't believe in that. I think everybody is entitled to a second chance. And I don't wanna see families disrupted, families deported. I wanna see comprehensive immigration reform. And I'm gonna do everything I can as soon as I get into office to push on that.

But in the meantime, I'm not gonna be breaking up families. And I think that is one of the differences.  But I totally understand why the Obama administration felt as though they did what they did under the circumstances. But I think we've learned that the Republicans, at least the current crop, are just not acting in good faith.

September 08, 2015

Jorge Ramos: 40 percent of undocumented immigrants come by air and overstay visas

Depending on which poll you believe, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans support building a wall or fence along the border with Mexico. Jorge Ramos, a news anchor on Univision and Fusion, makes no secret of his disdain for the idea.

A few days after attracting widespread notice after being thrown out of a Donald Trump press conference while asking a question on immigration policy (he was later allowed back in), Ramos accepted an invitation to appear on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on Sept. 2, 2015. Host Bill O’Reilly’s first question pressed him on the issue of a border wall.

O’Reilly: "You don’t want a border wall. You don’t want that. Why not?"

Ramos: "It’s a completely absurd idea. Why would you want to build a 1,900-mile wall between Mexico and the United States if almost 40 percent of all immigrants come by plane and they overstay their visas?"

Ramos is far from the first person to deploy the statistic that 40 percent of unauthorized immigrants come into the country under a legal visa and then stay beyond its expiration date. Two Republican presidential candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have said the same thing. When we checked Rubio’s claim, we rated it Mostly True.

However, Ramos’ statement adds the wrinkle that these people typically arrive by plane to rebut the notion that a wall would stop unauthorized immigration. As it turns out, it's hard to prove how they travel.

See what Jon Greenberg of PunditFact found.