WASHINGTON - Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio told protesters who interrupted a speech he was giving on Thursday that their “right to be rude” is what makes America different.
The Florida Republican was heckled by immigration protesters during his address to the Faith and Freedom Coalition “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C.
Young immigrants from the activist group M.E.Ch.A in Washington state – who shouted “DACA” and “DAPA” – were protesting Rubio’s opposition to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, they said in a release emailed out by another immigration group that’s supporting the action, United We Dream.
“That’s the difference between Cuba and the United States,” Rubio said to audience cheers, as the protesters were escorted out by security. “If you do that in another country, your family’s house would be raided, your family’s business would be shutdown.”
Rubio continued: “They have the right to interrupt speeches, they have the right to be rude, they have the right to be wrong.”
“Marco Rubio will not fool our community – a Latino last name and clever talking points are not enough to reverse a voting record and statements which would put me and millions of others at risk of deportation,” organizer Martin Negrete said in a statement.
Protesters have already made their presence felt on the 2016 campaign trail. Jeb Bush’s campaign launch on Monday was also disrupted by activists advocating for immigration reform. The demonstrators, members of local immigration organizations like GetEQUAL Florida, Alliance for Citizenship, Farm-Workers Association, were led by Homestead’s Equal Rights for All. They wore neon yellow shirts spelling out “Legal status is not enough” and clutched signs reading “DACA and DAPA are acts of love.”
“Jeb Bush thought he could dodge the immigration issue all together at today’s announcement but immigrant youth forced the former governor to address an issue he’s been inconsistent on,” Julieta Garibay, co-founder of United We Dream, said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Bridget Todd