November 19, 2015

New Spanish-language TV ad targets Republicans over immigration


A political action committee for a major national labor union released a new Spanish-language television ad Thursday hitting several Republican presidential candidates, including the only two Hispanics seeking the job, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The groups behind the ad are iAmerica Action and SEIU-COPE, the Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education. The union has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

The ad, which will air nationally on networks Univison and Telemundo, condemns Republicans' opposition to the actions President Barack Obama took using executive authority that protect some immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. The actions are known as DACA and DAPA; DAPA, which Obama pushed a year ago, has not been implemented due to an ongoing lawsuit.

"One year ago President Obama took historic action, standing up for all families striving to achieve the American Dream," said Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of SEIU International and president of iAmerica Action’s President. "Since then, we have reached one full year of consistent attacks against Latino and immigrant families. It's simply inexcusable."

The groups say they will spend six figures on the ad campaign, which include digital ads in English in Florida, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

The spots quote Rubio, Cruz and Donald Trump -- and also picture Jeb Bush. All have said they would end DACA (and DAPA, if it ever moves forward). Bush has generally taken a more empathetic tone toward immigrants, and Rubio has indicated he might let the program stand for a while before canceling it, to give Congress some time to reform immigration laws. He says he would cancel it even if Congress doesn't act, however.

Here's the English-language script:

Rubio: We need to get rid of all these illegal executive orders the President has put in place.

Cruz: I think amnesty is wrong.

Rubio: DACA is going to end.

Trump: They have to go.

Voice over: These candidates may be different, but their messages are all the

same: No to DAPA, no to DACA, np to immigrant families.

Now it’s time for our community to say no.

We will not accept hate. We will not allow anti-immigrant attacks.

We will not support the status quo.

Because if they win, we lose.

Here's the Spanish-language spot:


November 18, 2015

'It's offensive,' new web ad says of immigration rhetoric from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio's harder line on immigration is the subject of a new digital ad from American Bridge and Latino Victory Fund. "Yes, people will have to be deported," Rubio is heard saying.

The ad also features Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The groups have not yet provided details on where the ad will be seen.


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 17, 2015

Florida GOP lawmakers push immigration proposals


Decrying a federal government that “refuses to enforce our immigration laws,” a group of state lawmakers Tuesday unrolled a series of bills aimed at stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants to Florida.

Here’s what they propose:

* Prohibit so-called “sanctuary cities,” local governments that slow down or opt not to carry out orders from federal immigration officials to detain or deport suspected undocumented immigrants. State Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, said he believes Miami-Dade County to have a sanctuary policy. The legislation (HB 675) allows the attorney general to sue public officials and local governments that enact sanctuary policies, possibly fining them up to $5,000 per day.

* Ramp up criminal penalties against undocumented immigrants. A bill (HB 9, SB 118) would make it a first-degree felony — punishable by up to 30 years in state prison — for someone who has been ordered deported to be in the state of Florida. Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, said that he intends to change the legislation moving forward, however, to only target violent criminals who are undocumented immigrants. They would face harsher penalties for any crime they commit, and they would face a first-degree felony if they return to Florida.

* Change how welfare benefits are calculated for families that include an undocumented immigrant. Legislation (SB 750, HB 563) would count the entire salary — rather than just a part of it — of a low-income undocumented immigrant against his or her family’s benefits.

“All these bills we shouldn’t be doing,” said Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. “We have other things to worry about or we should be worried about: health care or education, but because we have that federal government that isn’t doing what they should do, we have to act.”

The legislation is being sponsored by a collection of Republican representatives and senators who say they will together push through three bills: Bean, Metz, Hutson, and Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami.

Because immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government, state lawmakers say there isn’t much they can do.

“I love the idea of a wall,” Bean said. “A wall would be a good start.”

But until there is greater enforcement on the border, they said, their legislation will allow Florida to take action against undocumented immigrants and state and local programs that are friendly toward them.

The enhanced criminal penalties bill has its first hearing Wednesday in a House committee.

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