The Washington Post

Marco Rubio confronts fallout from immigration stance

Sen. Marco Rubio, R, of Miami, talks with business leaders concerned about Obamacare during a meeting lead by the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce Monday Aug. 12, 2013 at the chamber office in the Commerce Building in Gainesville, Fla. Since championing immigration reform, Rubio’s standing has slipped in some polls. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Brad McClenny) Sen. Marco Rubio  talks with business leaders  Aug. 12 at the Commerce Building in Gainesville, Fla. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP)

ORLANDO — Long a rising star among conservative activists, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) came face-to-face today with the fallout from his role in helping craft a bipartisan Senate compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

 Speaking Friday at the opening session of the “Defending the American Dream Summit” sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the senator was interrupted repeatedly by calls of “No amnesty!” from attendees scattered throughout the 1,000-person audience.

Rubio did not acknowledge the shouts, but ended his speech with an impassioned description of the promise that America offers immigrants such as his parents, who came from Cuba.

“My family’s story not just about them – it’s about us,” he said. “It’s the story of millions of people before them and since who achieved here in this land what would have been impossible almost anywhere else. That is still who we are. Today there are millions of people among us, trying to do what my parents did for us and what your parents did for you."

He did not directly address immigration reform, an issue that has frayed his relationship with many in the tea party movement.

“I’d like to see Marco Rubio, just so I can tell him what I think of his positions: He’s on the wrong track of being a conservative,” Rick Barr, a 60-year-old activist from Indianapolis, said before his speech.

Some said Rubio needed to address the topic head-on  to win over skeptics.

“We’re all a little irritated with Marco,” said Judy Peterson, a retired special education teacher from Treasure Island, Fla. “Now, that doesn’t mean we’ve thrown him under the bus. But we would like him to, just come on. He hasn’t explained it very well.”

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
The Post's Dan Balz says ...
This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Listen
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.