Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tea party members protest at Sen. Marco Rubio's office

Sen. Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio

WASHINGTON — Tea party members protested Tuesday at one of Sen. Marco Rubio's Florida offices, revealing strains in the relationship since Rubio became the national face of immigration reform.

"We have some disagreement over our definition of amnesty," said Jim McGovern, an organizer with the Martin County 9/12 Tea Party Committee. "He's claiming the requirement for individuals now considered undocumented aliens would be onerous and it would be less difficult to go back to their home country and apply there. We disagree with opening that door."

McGovern said tea party members object to the closed-door process Rubio and the bipartisan Gang of 8 has followed to produce the legislation being released this week after months of negotiations.

He said Rubio talked as a candidate about the dangers of huge, comprehensive bills.

About 35 people showed up at Rubio's office in Palm Beach Gardens and a representative from the senator's office spoke with the group.

Rubio responded with a letter directed at clearing up "misinformation" about his position, saying he would not support a bill that is rushed through and noted the Judiciary Committee delayed a meeting set for Wednesday and scheduled a second one next week.

"Immigration reform is a difficult issue," he wrote. "It represents the kind of broken government that tea party members across our country were fed up with in 2010, and an issue that inspired me to run in order to change the way Washington works."

He said he would not support "anything that makes our immigration system worse," does not secure the borders "or that leads to further illegal immigration in the future."

Rubio was widely associated with the rise of the tea party in 2010, even as he kept footing in the GOP establishment. A fallout with grass roots conservatives could be problematic if he runs for president in 2016.

Other Florida tea party leaders say they trust Rubio on the issue.

"He's tried to push that we need to secure the borders first," said Sharon Calvert, co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party. "The reality of the situation is the problem needs to be dealt with. It's an issue the Republican Party needs to deal with. Rubio understands why people come to our country and he's trying to deal with it so we don't have to again."

Clyde Fabretti, co-founder of the West Orlando Tea Party, was more emphatic: "Whenever you hear he's losing face with conservatives, that's bunk. The real grass roots tea party movement, the boots on the ground, we support his leadership. We really believe, as he does, that a precondition to any deal must be to secure the border. Rubio is consistent about that."

Rubio, he said, "is what he is. He's always been conservative in our view."

Rubio's involvement in comprehensive reform so far has not hurt fundraising. On Monday, Rubio's fundraising committees reported raising nearly $2.3 million over the past three months.

Tea party members protest at Sen. Marco Rubio's office 04/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Baker lowers expectations for primary

    Blogs

    Rick Baker officially lowered expectations Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  2. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Polk sheriff: Gibsonton man sent child porn to Bay News 9 anchor

    Crime

    A 20-year-old Gibsonton man was indicted on federal charges after authorities said he repeatedly sent child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9.

    Marchaun Browning, 20 of Gibsonton, was indicted on federal charges, accused of sending child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9 using Twitter. [Courtesy of Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  4. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk

    Events

    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  5. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]