With the Florida primary looming and more mentions of Senator Rubio as a potential VP candidate on the GOP ticket, Latino and immigrant organizations are launching an awareness campaign exposing the positions of the Sunshine State’s junior senator. It’s called “No Somos Rubios” (We are not Marco Rubios).
Presente.org, working in conjunction with other organizations, released its “No Somos Rubios” video online. And Presente.org is asking its 250,000+ members for donations to help get this ad on the airwaves.
It could explain why Rubio recently blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for calling Mitt Romney “anti-immgrant.” The political pressure as a result of open barrages from Latino groups may be gaining Rubio’s attention.
The main point of criticism is the hard line position Senator Rubio has taken on the immigration issue as he has aligned himself with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. He has expressed opposition to the DREAM Act, in-state tuition for undocumented youth, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people in the U.S. Rubio also supports the controversial Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, despite 81% of Latinos opposing this law.
Maria Rodriguez, the founding executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition explained the extent that Senator Rubio is out of touch with the larger Latino community.
“I remember a time when Marco Rubio represented his community and his constituents. He used to support the Florida DREAM Act and was better on issues related to migrant farm workers,” stated Maria Rodriguez. “Who is he representing right now? If nearly 80% of Latinos support the DREAM Act, why doesn’t he? He doesn’t seem to be interested in representing the Latinos of Florida or the Latinos throughout the country. He seems more concerned about his political aspirations than about the issues that our community cares about.”
Beyond Florida, should Marco Rubio become the Vice Presidential candidate, he will likely face trouble out west where there are larger Mexican American and other Latino populations most impacted by the immigration issue. Cuban Americans and Puerto Ricans in Florida are less impacted by immigration because of their status; Cuban Americans have the Cuban Adjustment Act and Puerto Ricans are US citizens by birth.
Dee Dee Garcia Blase, the Co-President of the Tequila Party National Movement, told Politic365 that “Senator Marco Rubio is no José Martí.”
“Rubio is creating a wedge between Cuban Republicans and Mexican Americans in the greater Southwestern and Midwestern part of the United States. Rubio supported the harsh Arizona anti-immigrant law, he does not support the DREAM Act and he will not take a lead on fixing the broken immigration laws via a legal immigration reform. Cubans in Florida benefit from Cuban amnesty under the Cuban Adjustment Act, yet, he refuses to reform a broken immigration system when presented with a reasonable plan.”
While Senator Rubio has publicly indicated that he is not interested in being a Vice Presidential candidate, potential Republican nominees will continue to court him because he is perceived to be a rising star in the Republican Party. But the desired effect of attracting more Latinos to a GOP ticket with Rubio may be harder to achieve precisely because of his positions on immigration.