Immigration Reform Update: DREAMers Protest Sen. Marco Rubio, Claim Republican Wants to Deport DACA Recipients
DREAMers protested Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for his "flip flopping" on immigration reform.
Members of the Dream Organizing Network (DON) and United We Dream (UWD) confronted Rubio during an event in Anderson, South Carolina. The son of Cuban-American immigrants, Rubio originally favored and voted for comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate in June 2013. Rubio has since distanced himself from the bill he voted in favor of after conservative activists voiced their criticism of the bill.
Rubio has previously criticized the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by President Barack Obama, which granted over 500,000 undocumented immigrant youths the right to stay in the U.S. for educational and work purposes. Rubio claimed DACA led to the recent influx of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. Rubio also stated children coming to the U.S. should not qualify for DACA. Under current provisions of DACA, only immigrants living in the U.S. prior to June 15, 2007, and born after June 15, 1981 are eligible for the renewable two-year program.
At the Anderson event, four protesters held a "Rubio Me Quiere Deportar" (Rubio Wants to Deport Me) sign.
"I am Jose and we are DREAMers from the state of Florida, and our senator wants to deport us," one protester said.
"Senator Rubio, you don't stand with Latinos," a second protester said. "Latinos stand with DREAMers."
"Senator Rubio, stop flip flopping with our community," the third protester said.
People in the audience started to jeer the protesters as security escorted the group off the premises. A fifth protester later voiced his frustration against Rubio, and he was escorted out of the building to applause by the audience.
"Tonight, we disrupted the event that Marco Rubio was speaking at here at in Anderson, South Carolina. As we were escorted out, there were people in the audience that got really mad with us to the point that they turned physical," DON organizer Oliver Merino said. "There was somebody in the room that actually not only attempted to choke me but actually got close to me enough to put his hands around my neck. It was really disappointing."
"We know that our community will stand against any type of injustice wherever [Rubio] goes, and we will follow him wherever he goes to make sure he knows our community stands together," Merino added.
Meanwhile, UWD Deputy Director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, a DACA recipient, said he risks deportation if his DACA status is taken away, adding, "I will lose all the benefits DACA has given to my life, my family and my community."
Sousa-Rodriguez, in a video released by UWD, asked, "Senator Rubio, do you want to deport me or do you want to deport more than half a million DREAMers all across the country?"
The Rubio protest is the latest confrontation with a Republican congressional lawmaker after UWD questioned Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at a book signing in Florida. UWD members asked Ryan why he wants to deport DACA recipients. Ryan didn't directly answer the question but said such answers can be found in his new book, "The Way Forward."