August 26, 2015

Chris Christie bashes Jeb Bush for...speaking Spanish?


Chris Christie, who is not bilingual, apparently doesn't think Jeb Bush should flaunt that he speaks Spanish fluently. (Or at least he shouldn't do that, and then criticize Asians.)

Fox News' Megyn Kelly asked Christie Tuesday night how Republican candidates should try to appeal to Hispanic voters without alienating their conservative base.

"By telling the truth and enforcing the law," Christie said. "I mean, the fact is that you don't need to be pandering to one way or the other. I'll tell you the way you don't do it. You don't do focus group-tested trips to the border, speak Spanish and then criticize Asians."

"He's referring to Jeb Bush, for those of you who are at work the last couple of days," Kelly added.

Bush visited McAllen, Texas, on Monday and later held a news conference in which he fielded questions in both English and Spanish. He was asked about using the term "anchor babies," which he tried to explain as referring to "fraud" by "mostly Asians" who come to the U.S. to give birth.

Christie has been struggling in the polls far behind Bush. His underdog campaign appeared pleased with the New Jersey governor's TV performance: It sent reporters video and a transcript of the exchange with Kelly, highlighting the hit on Bush.

Later in the interview, Christie noted Bush's trouble trying to clarify his "anchor baby" position, which offended both Hispanic and Asian groups.

"We don't need a candidate who's looking backwards who can't even answer a question on anchor babies," Christie said. "We need to have someone who is going to be looking forward and doing things the right way. And I'm not trying to be coy about it. The fact is that if Governor Bush cannot stand up to answer those questions with two or three tries at it, what's going to happen when he has to look at Vladimir Putin?"

Christie might not speak Spanish himself -- or find it helpful for other Republicans to do so -- but his reelection campaign in 2013 made a point of releasing at least one Spanish-language ad geared at Hispanic voters. 


This post has been updated.

Jeb Bush: 'The federal government right now does not deport criminals'

Jeb Bush says that the federal government needs to start deporting criminals.

"The federal government right now does not deport criminals," he said at a town hall in New Hampshire on Aug. 19. "I don't believe that we should take people that are here in the shadows and deport them all -- the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, it would rip up communities -- it's not appropriate. But criminals should be deported, and right now the Obama administration is not doing that."

Bush was essentially bashing GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for his immigration plans, which include deporting millions of illegal immigrants. But is Bush correct that Obama's administration is not deporting criminals? In a word, no.

See what PolitiFact Florida found.

Donald Trump: many great scholars say 'anchor babies are not covered' by 14th Amendment

Donald Trump says his plan to roll back birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants will pass constitutional muster because "many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered."

"Many of the great scholars" -- really? That comment caught our attention.

In case you need a refresher on birthright citizenship: As it stands now, any person born on U.S. soil is a citizen -- regardless of the parents’ immigration status -- because of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Trump has recently advocated for pulling back citizenship for illegal immigrants’ children. Some, like Trump, refer to these children as "anchor babies."

"The parents have to come in legally," Trump said, talking to reporters in New Hampshire Aug. 19. "Now we’re going to have to find out what’s going to happen from a court standpoint. But many people, many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered (by the 14th Amendment). We’re going to have to find out."

Considering that about 300,000 babies are born to illegal immigrants and become citizens every year, we wondered if Trump is right to say that "many" scholars think this isn’t necessarily a constitutional right.

We won’t dig into who’s a "great" scholar, but we will look at how widespread this position is and if "many" say the 14th Amendment isn’t an impediment to Trump’s plan.

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found.

August 24, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Most Florida voters oppose Iran deal


A new poll shows President Barack Obama remains unpopular in Florida -- as does his nuclear deal with Iran.

Obama's job approval rating is upside down 41-56 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. Respondents oppose the Iran agreement by 61-25 percent but support sending U.S. ground troops to fight the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

The president's proposed federal rules to reduce pollution from coal-burning plants -- not a big issue in Florida -- won support of 69-25 percent in the poll. The survey's error margin was 3 percentage points.

Quinnipiac also polled in two other swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and found that in all three places, voters oppose efforts by Republicans in Congress to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

They also support a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally (for Florida, that support was at 53 percent, with 12 percent supporting no path to citizenship and 31 percent saying the immigrants should be forced to leave).

Donald Trump's manager: 400,000 'anchor babies' born in U.S. each year

Donald Trump’s proposal to end automatic citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants spurred a week of talk about "anchor babies," a term that some say is derogatory.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tried to clarify his boss' views on CNN’s State of the Union on Aug. 23, 2015.

"If you think of the term ‘anchor baby,’ which is those individuals coming to our country and having their children so their children can be U.S. citizens," Lewandowski said on Aug. 23. "There’s 400,000 of those taking place on a yearly basis. To put this in perspective, that’s equivalent of the population of Tulsa, Okla."

We wondered whether there really were 400,000 "anchor babies" born in the United States every year (and yes, that is the population size of Tulsa). Are the undocumented mothers specifically coming here to give birth in hopes of some kind of legal status?

Keep reading Linda Qiu's fact-check from PolitiFact and a fact-check from PunditFact about how many countries offer birthright citizenship.

August 21, 2015

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy

via @learyreports

Donald Trump this week injected “anchor babies” into the immigration debate and Florida’s Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were pulled in. Both got burned, in different ways.

Rubio and Bush sought to massage the issue, saying they did not want to get rid of the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship but do want a crackdown on clear abuses.

But Bush made the political mistake of calling the children “anchor babies,” which some consider a slur. Hillary Clinton, who is dealing with a growing email problem and may need a distraction, jumped all over Bush with tweets and a video. Just about every liberal and immigrant rights group criticized him as well.

For Bush, points with the conservative base probably aren’t worth the distraction and implication Trump is getting the better of him. Or the damage it could do in a general election. Or that Bush looks like a hypocrite.

Rubio, true to form, used more finesse.

He said Tuesday that abuses should be looked at but didn’t say “anchor babies,” calling such children “human beings” in an appearance on CNBC.

That provoked unwanted problems on Rubio’s right. Twitter and a story on Breitbart News are littered with scorching comments that harken back to Marco “amnesty” Rubio, part author of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio mired in Donald Trump's 'anchor babies' controversy" »

August 16, 2015

Donald Trump spells out immigration plans -- and goes after Marco Rubio


Donald Trump's newly released immigration policy includes not one but two mentions of rival Marco Rubio. And they're not complimentary.

In its second sentence, Trump's plan derides "the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill" -- the bipartisan Senate legislation that Rubio wrote in 2013 along with seven other senators -- as "nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties." 

Later, Trump hit Rubio over his support for legislation that would increase the number of H1B visas, a top goal for software giants in Silicon Valley to attract skilled foreign workers.

"Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities," Trump wrote, referring to Facebook's chief executive.

Rubio's campaign didn't respond to a request for comment. Trump didn't call out any other GOP presidential contender. 

July 30, 2015

Did 40 percent of illegal immigrants overstay their visas as Marco Rubio says?

Sen. Marco Rubio said that while people sneaking into the United States is a legitimate problem, the immigration system is so broken that almost half of all illegal immigrants came into the country through legal channels.

"We have a porous border, meaning not just the border with Mexico, but 40 percent of people in this country, illegally, are overstaying visas," he said on Fox & Friends on July 22, 2015.

If that’s a stat that sounds familiar, it’s because Rubio has said it before -- including during his 2010 Senate campaign. Former Gov. Jeb Bush has cited the number, too.

But is it true that 40 percent of illegal immigrants are people who have overstayed their visas? It turns out that we hear the figure so often because it’s the most commonly accepted estimate, although it’s getting a little long in the tooth.

Turn to Joshua Gillin's fact-check from PolitiFact Florida.

July 29, 2015

Is the majority of the Hispanic population and growth U.S. born as José Díaz-Balart says?

Donald Trump’s immigration views may be divisive among candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination, but the bombastic billionaire remains at the top of the polls. Former presidential candidate and conservative pundit Pat Buchanan credits Trump’s rise in part to his willingness to address one of the country’s hottest issues.

Appearing July 26 on NBC’s Meet the Press, Buchanan said people are feeling the "conquest of the West by massive third-world immigrations coming from refugees and border jumpers and all the rest of them."

José Díaz-Balart, host of MSNBC's The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart and a Telemundo anchor, challenged Buchanan’s comments during the show’s panel discussion with some food for thought.

"The invasion is from within," Díaz-Balart said. "The majority of the Hispanic population and the growth is U.S.-born."

He added, "Sprinkle that on your oatmeal, or probably on your huevos rancheros."

See what Anna Bruzgulis of PunditFact found.

July 24, 2015

Carlos Curbelo tries to rally support against change in U.S. citizenship oath


Up until now, new U.S. citizens have had to take an oath at their naturalization ceremonies pledging to bear arms or perform noncombatant military service when required by law. 

This week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a modification to the "Oath of Allegiance" allowing new citizens to opt out of the two clauses (one for bearing arms and the other for noncombatant military service) based on religion or conscientious objection.

That modification did not sit well with U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who has emailed other members of Congress asking them to sign on to a letter opposing the new policy, which the Miami Republican called "misguided." Two other Republicans, Diane Black of Tennessee and David Valadao California, have already signed on. Curbelo's parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba.

"As Members of Congress, it is our belief that the current Oath of Allegiance respects those new citizens’ religious beliefs by including the option to perform 'noncombatant services in the Armed Services,'" says the letter, addressed to Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez.

"Allowing for individuals to be exempt from reciting these guidelines of the Oath based off moral objections is cause for grave concern and could set a bad precedent. Defending our country when needed should remain a duty for all citizens. Making it option would diminish the allegiance that all citizens should have for our nation."

Read the text of the letter below:

Continue reading "Carlos Curbelo tries to rally support against change in U.S. citizenship oath" »