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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dreamers heckle Rubio in South Carolina



Sen. Marco Rubio was interrupted several times by Dreamers during an event in South Carolina tonight.

”I actually sympathize with what they're saying,” Rubio said in Anderson, according to the Associated Press.

The Dreamers, named after the stalled Dream Act, were protesting Rubio’s recent comments that deferred action be ended. The Obama policy has given legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth. Rubio, who once worked on a similar legislation, says it should end.

A video posted on YouTube showed part of the outburst, at Rep. Jeff Duncan’s annual “Faith and Freedom BBQ.” There were boos and one person yelled, “Go home.”

Rubio appeared to handle it calmly. “I’ll start on that topic, how’s that?”

He observed how generous the U.S. has been on immigration policy and mentioned his upbringing as the son of Cuban immigrants.

He also “stressed the importance of innovative educational programs, saying a four-year college degree isn't necessary for middle class success,” according to the AP.

"I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational and career education," Rubio said. "We need more programs that help people graduate from high school and get ready to go into one of these professions."

"When America steps back from the national stage, it is chaos," Rubio said, adding that international conflicts need reasoned intervention. "Does that mean that we should be involved in every conflict? Of course not. ... Only America can play that role. In the absence of us playing that role, no one does, and crisis ensues."

The protesters said on Twitter that they had made the drive from Florida. They were removed but not arrested, according to a tweet from a local reporter in attendance.

United We Dream releases statements from some of the protesters, including Maria Palacios, of United We Dream-Tampa Bay.

“If Sen. Rubio wants us deported, we’re here to ask him to tell us to our faces,” she said. “We went to Sen. Rubio’s office in Florida, but his staff hid and closed the doors on us, so we’re here to let him know that Dreamers do not forget, and that we will fight to keep our DACA. The Florida immigrant community must see that Sen. Rubio does not stand for us.”

“As a DACA-mented Dreamer, I have experienced firsthand the positive impacts that the program has had in my life, as I’m now able to drive, work and be protected from deportation. Sen. Rubio will not take that away from me or thousands like me.”

[Last modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:04pm]


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