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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's talk on 'sanctuary cities' brings up his record as Florida House speaker



Marco Rubio joined criticism of “sanctuary cities” following the death of a woman in San Francisco.

“What is unacceptable is that the Department of Homeland Security had repeatedly requested from that city that they turn him over. They refused to do so,” Rubio said Thursday on Fox News. “And what's even more unacceptable -- this is a person that had been deported four to five separate times and each time found its way back in the country, and in fact, found his way to San Francisco because he knew it was a city and a jurisdiction that would not turn him over to federal authorities. And it's just one more example of how all of this is completely out of control. Here you have liberal local officials who refused to comply with the law and refused to turn someone over, and as a result you've had a loss of life.”

In a sign of how closely his record is being reviewed, a Republican rival reminds us that a bill to prevent sanctuary cities in Florida died under Rubio’s watch as speaker of the Florida House.

The legislation from then Rep. Don Brown, a Republican from north Florida, was one of several bills that were killed.

Rubio denied he was the factor, but supporters of the bills were outraged. His office was besieged with phone calls from people complaining about the lack of movement.

"There is nothing the state of Florida can do unilaterally to solve global warming. And there is nothing we can do unilaterally to solve immigration," said Rubio, the first Cuban-American to become House speaker, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2008.

Rubio adopted a hard line on immigration during his 2010 Senate run but eventually became a member of the Gang of 8 that wrote a comprehensive bill.  On Fox yesterday he suggested there was an attempt to negotiate with Democrats on getting rid of sanctuary cities.

“Irrespective about how you feel about immigration at large, everyone should acknowledge that we as a country have a right to have immigration laws and a right to enforce them,” Rubio said. “And in this case you have political, elected officials in an ultra-liberal government who refuses to comply with the law because they don't agree with the law. And that is just completely unacceptable.”

We have reached out to Rubio’s office for backup on his efforts to block sanctuary cities.

Breitbart News, which has been all over Rubio for his role in the immigration bill, wrote the Senate bill “not only would it have allowed sanctuary cities to continue to refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities, it would have stopped ICE from pushing to strip federal funds from sanctuary cities that defied them by releasing aliens back onto the streets, thanks to an amendment added by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).”

[Last modified: Friday, July 10, 2015 5:53pm]


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