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Univision‟s evening newscast “Noticiero Univision” Interview with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) Monday, June 18, 2012
First part of the interview aired on Monday, June 18; the second part will air Tuesday, June 19 on “Noticiero Univision” at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT. Univision‟s Sunday public affairs program “Al Punto” will broadcast a longer version on June 24 at 10 a.m. ET/PT. Key JR: MR: Jorge Ramos Marco Rubio
JR: Senator, thank you for speaking with us. I understand that in the past there have been tension between you and Univision‟s news department, and I appreciate you having agreed to speak with us about absolutely everything. MR: No, as far as I‟m concerned, that‟s all in the past. I believe that Univision has an important role in communicating to the Hispanic community in this country, and I am pleased, and thank you for the opportunity to discuss my book and other topics. JR: Speaking of your book, I just read it. I thought it was extremely interesting, it‟s a North American tradition that any young man who wants to make it to the presidency writes a book. John F. Kennedy, whom you cite in the book, did it, Barack Obama. Do you want to be President of the United States? MR: Well, that was not the book‟s purpose, nor do I have that ambition in particular. Look, the book was two things. First, obviously, there was another book that was being written about me and I thought that it was important and there was interest in me writing a book so that, to be honest, I also wanted to give my version of history, no? because I believe that is important. But I also wanted to share the things I have learned, the experiences, the errors I have made and also the victories we have had, because I think that there are many people who find themselves in similar positions at this time and I have always found inspiration in the books of other people, I even read Barack Obama‟s book “The Audacity of Hope,” and I can tell you that, although I obviously do not share his political ideas, the idea of a candidate to the senate, as he was, who was not the favorite, obviously one sees that and thinks, well, if he can do it, so can I. JR: He was the first African-American in the presidency, why not the first Hispanic? That is the great idea with you, that you could become the first Hispanic president of
the United States. MR: Well, I don‟t believe there is any impediment for a Hispanic to become president of this great nation. JR: Marco Rubio, president of the United States.
MR: Not I, it‟s not an ambition particularly, and I‟ll tell you why. Obviously, I believe that if I do a good job in the Senate, I will have other opportunities, possibly political, possibly in the press. I don‟t know, but those opportunities present themselves if one does a good job. What I have learned is that when a person focuses on a future position, that is to say, when one says, “well, the purpose of my service there is to position myself for something else,” most of the time it ends badly, and that‟s why I always resist this type of thoughts, I don‟t know what opportunities might present themselves in the future, but what I do know is that I have the opportunity now to serve in the Senate and here I want to do a good job. JR: On page 47 of your book, you say the following, you say to your grandfather: “an army of exiles must exist in order to overthrow Fidel Castro and for me to become president of a free Cuba.” You said that to your grandfather. Do you want to invade Cuba? MR: well … JR: MR: JR: No, obviously I said that when I was about 11 years old, no? I had other ideas as
You wanted to be president of Cuba, curiously enough. And I also wanted to play professional football, and a whole series of things … In other words, the idea of invading Cuba is not …
MR: No, that is not a truly realistic idea, nor anyone… nor is it truly necessary at this time. But, obviously, those were the words of a child who was being raised near his grandfather in Las Vegas, who heard those wishes of having a free Cuba and, obviously, historically, no? Liberation always has come or the mambises in Cuba or the American Revolution have always come through armed resistance. But, obviously, that is not the politics of a senator, it is the politics of a nine-year-old boy, but it is an aspiration I had from an early age to participate in some manner in bringing more liberty, liberty to Cuba. JR: Your parents arrived in the United States in 1956 for economic reasons and what a lot of people are asking themselves is why do you support them and why you do not support others like them? The millions of undocumented who come here to the United States. Why yes to them and no to others? MR: JR: Well, no, first obviously I want to be clear, my parents entered legally in „56. But I‟m referring to economic reasons, not political.
MR: Yes, but I support legal immigration 100 percent, the reunification of families through a legal system. We think that the current legal immigration system does not function
well. It has to be reformed, I have already presented concrete ideas to begin to reform and update the legal immigration system, and each day in our offices we receive people who have relatives in all parts of the world, who are seeking to enter the United States legally. I support that and, what‟s more, I have clearly said that the Republican Party should convert, not into the legal anti-immigration party, but into pro legal immigration that benefits the country and the future, and I have been clear in that position. We have an illegal immigration problem; I believe that the legal immigration system that does not work well contributes to that. I try to explain that to people that, for example, in Florida there are many undocumented people, I don‟t know the number, but I know that the majority, it is not a majority that enter legally. JR: But your father worked in a hotel, for example, he was a barman. Your mother worked as a cleaning lady. The majority of undocumented immigrants do that kind of work as your parents did. Then, for many it seems unfair or selfish that you defend your parents and do not defend others who do exactly the same thing they did. MR: No, but I defend the opportunity for people to enter the United States legally.
JR: But not those who are already here, that is, the problem is the 11 million undocumented people that you are not defending. MR: Yes, but look, the 11 million undocumented people, if that is the number, it is not exactly known, because, for example, last year for the first time there are numbers that indicate that we have possibly lost people. Because the economy in Mexico has improved… JR: It went down from 12 million to 11 and a half million, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. MR: Well, but the point is, we have a serious problem, how to fix that system. It is impossible to fix that system without the support of the American people who, currently, have a valid concern with a legal immigration system that does not work and with an illegal immigration problem that hurts the country. We have to deal with that; then, we have to gain the confidence of the American people, that I believe begins by taking measures such as to continue to improve the security of the border, that we have to admit, and I have admitted it, I have visited the border, the security situation at the border has improved, it must continue to be improved, and to say that the matter of the border is no longer an immigration case, as much as a security case and a humanitarian case. JR: But what would we do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants?
MR: But I‟m getting to that, it‟s part of a process. Second, a system of electronic verification that works has to be created. We use it here in the office, which gives the employer and the employee an affordable manner of being able to verify that the people who are seeking employment are here legally. If we can do that, then I am confident that political space is created to reform the legal immigration system and to improve the immigration system, update it. JR: You want more security at the border, but that for many is an excuse. The number of undocumented people has gone down; border towns are the safest we have here in the United States.
But the system has improved.
JR: The number of deportations has increased as never before in history, and the truth is four out of every 10 undocumented persons arrive by plane. Isn‟t that your excuse to do nothing? MR: On the contrary, I repeat again. It is part of a process; we have to gain the confidence of the American people who have to understand these numbers… JR: MR: JR: But the border is safe already. Yes, but we have to keep on improving. And that has to be constant. But until when, Senator, the problem is until when…
MR: Well, we‟re already there, then, if we can first gain the confidence of the American public to do two things: update the legal immigration system. A modern system, which for example, has a system of temporary workers. I believe that many of these people who are right now undocumented, if there were a system of “guest workers” as it is called in English, many of those persons would use that. I believe that if we do all that, then we arrive at a moment when something can be done about those people who are here undocumented. JR: MR: But we are still years behind for that. No, I don‟t think we are many years behind.
JR: It‟s just that many think it is not fair that you defend your parents who were immigrants for economic reasons and that you don‟t do the same for others. MR: Yes, but Jorge, my parents were immigrants for economic reasons, even if the economic reasons in Cuba were always political since before Castro, but, well, but I defend legal immigrants as well. I defend that system. JR: But not the undocumented. There are 11 million that you do not defend.
MR: But it is just that that is not correct. I repeat that this cannot be the only country in the world which does not have a system of immigration laws that are not enforced. Now, we do have a problem, we have nine, 10, 11 million people, of human beings, as I have written in the book, they are human beings who are in a circumstance, the same in which we would find ourselves if we were suffering it. Then, what is not going to happen? We are not going to deport 11 million people. Neither will we give them amnesty. JR: You don‟t believe in Mitt Romney‟s idea of self deportation.
MR: We are not going to deport 11 … It‟s that the American people will not support it when they see the consequences of that and the human face of that type of things. Neither are we going to give amnesty to 11 million people. That support does not exist; within those two
options, which are not options, there is a solution. I think that if we can gain the confidence of the American people as to what is security, if we can update the legal immigration system, it becomes easier for us to deal with the matter of these people. It is not easy; it will never be easy, but easier. JR: That is, you, for now, are not in favor of the legalization of the undocumented?
MR: I believe that we first have to take the measures we have taken and then look for a solution that unites the country, to help these people, and to help the country to deal with 10 million people with no papers. JR: But, for example, your grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia, in 1962 received an order of deportation, this according to Manuel Roig Franzia‟s book, and was illegally in the United States until 1967, when his case was reviewed and, finally, he stays here. Why did your grandfather receive the support and generosity of this country? And why do you not do exactly the same? MR: Well, that is a good question. I have focused on that.
JR: Many believe that it is hypocritical that that was done for your grandfather and you do not defend others like your grandfather. MR: Yes, but I do defend them. Look, my grandfather‟s case, and I believe that is what brings up this topic is that the immigration situation and that of the undocumented people are not the same. Not everybody entered in the same manner. JR: Your grandfather was going to be deported.
MR: Yes, but let me give you various examples. In Miami I know many people who are undocumented and the reason that they are undocumented is because they gave $5,000 to an attorney, to a notary, for them to get them the documents; they did absolutely nothing and those persons remained like that. In my grandfather‟s case, my grandfather had fled Cuba. In Cuba, for example, it was impossible to emigrate legally from Cuba that year because the United States no longer had a consulate or diplomatic relations, and he came to the United States. It was impossible to deport him, deport him to a country that the United States had invaded in „61 through the Bay of Pigs and which was four, five weeks from the missile crisis. JR: The reality is that you grandfather was in the United States illegally.
MR: Yes, but through a humanitarian situation because in Cuba there was communism and he had to flee from it. Now, I‟m glad that you are asking me about that because that is one of the examples that I am using regarding the case of the young people who are in this country and are undocumented. When one is brought at 7, 8, 9 or 10 years old, it is not that person‟s fault. And not only is it not their fault, they are not in a humanitarian situation and this country has a long trajectory and tradition of helping people in humanitarian situations like my grandfather, like thousands of Cubans that almost all the Cubans who came in those years were technically coming illegally, because if one arrives in a boat from Cuba, that is not the way. But the country accommodated them just as it accommodated people from Nicaragua. We accommodate other
refugees and we should accommodate those young people as well. JR: But you understand the aggravation of many Hispanics when they hear you, they know that your parents came for economic reasons, that your grandfather was here illegally in the United States, and that you are not defending the undocumented, same as they, Senator? MR: No, but look, I don‟t understand this argument because I do defend the people who come for economic reasons. JR: But not the undocumented.
MR: No, but I reiterate and repeat, my parents in the year ‟56 and my grandfather with them entered this country legally through a process of legal immigration. I defend, and not only do I defend it but I also believe that it is essential for the economic future of this country. JR: Yes, but let‟s talk about the “Dream Act.”
MR: Yes… but let me finish this thought. I believe that it is essential that this country have a system where people can migrate to this country for economic reasons but through a legal system that works like the one that my parents used in ‟56. In the case of my grandfather, when he entered the second time, he entered as a refugee fleeing from communism, and this country must never abandon its course and its history as a compassionate country that helps people who are fleeing from circumstances such as those. JR: What I am referring to is that you had an undocumented person in your family, that‟s what I am referring to. MR: I reiterate and repeat again, but the circumstances of being undocumented are always different and that has to be understood when one argues. This is something that I explained to you … JR: You had an undocumented person in your family and why don‟t you defend other undocumented people. MR: But I do it, what do you mean I am not doing it … but I reiterate and repeat, Jorge, it is not true, Jorge. JR: You are not defending them, Senator…if you want, let‟s talk about the Dram Act… there are two million… MR: JR: No, but I don‟t want to leave this thought, because it‟s not true. It‟s just that I don‟t see what undocumented people you are helping, Senator.
MR: Well, first, Jorge, I … each person who comes as a refugee to this country, if one comes as a refugee or fleeing from Cuba, for example, or Nicaragua, or God forbid, Venezuela in the future, that person has no way of entering this country legally if you are fleeing your country, as the Cubans did …
I understand the case of Cuba, I understand the case perfectly…
MR: As is my grandfather‟s case… now we are talking about the case of the undocumented people at the present time. It depends on what undocumented people you are talking about, yes; there are people with no papers in this country. JR: reasons… MR: JR: I am talking about 11 million undocumented people who came for economic
But they are all different, the 11 million are not all alike. The majority for economic reasons like your parents.
MR: Yes, but they have not crossed the border, as you have correctly said. There are 11 million people, but among those 11 million there are people who entered legally and have stayed because the situation in Venezuela, others have entered and are comfortable with the life here… Others are children who entered when they were very young, each case is different and I believe if there are people within that group, specifically the young people, they can be accommodated… but what is not going to happen in this country is to give amnesty to 11 million people. That is not realistic, there is no support for that nor will it exist. JR: But you say that you are helping the undocumented people. You, about the antiimmigrant law of Arizona, the SB1070 that the Department of Justice of the United States says discriminates against and persecutes immigrants and Hispanics… you said on page 271… if you were in their shoes, referring to the legislators of Arizona, you too would have voted in its favor. Why do you support a law which in practice persecutes and discriminates against Hispanics? MR: Well, look, the Arizona law is not black and white… first, the Arizona law applies to a specific state that has a migratory situation very different to the rest of the country. And what I have said clearly is that number one I understand why the legislators of Arizona, of that state specifically that faces a migratory matter very different to that of Florida or other states, why they reacted the way they reacted. I believe that they, as a state, have the right to do it, but I don‟t believe that the Arizona law is a model for the rest of the country. JR: You are supporting them, and they are persecuting Hispanics. You know how frightened they are in Arizona. You sided with them. MR: JR: No, no, because what I have said is that their law is not a model for the country… But you said if you were in their shoes you would have voted in favor of it …
MR: Because if one is a legislator of a state, in Arizona, who sees the open borders, who at that time then, for example and it continues to be a violence that is crossing the border on both sides, sees the cities of his state threatened, sees that the federal government is not doing its part or its job and he has citizens of his state, including Hispanic citizens, who are asking for some type of help, the legislators of that state are responding to that unrest. On the other
hand…yes, but Jorge excuse me … JR: Yes, but how can …it goes against the Hispanics that law. The Department of Justice says so … MR: No, the Department of Justice says many things. The reality is that the Department of Justice doesn‟t think that law is constitutional. JR: But when I say to you that you are not defending the undocumented I am referring to that type of things. MR: No, but look, but what I have explained to you, I don‟t, I don‟t believe that the Arizona law should be a model for the country … JR: But you said you would support it, Senator that is the problem…
MR: Yes, but in the case of Arizona, I understand why they did it, but I don‟t believe it‟s ideal. What I have said is that the ideal is a federal policy on immigration, which deals, which corresponds to the federal government, I have always been very clear on that, but when the federal government does not do anything, when it does not pay attention to something, then the states are going to react and have the right to react. That doesn‟t mean that that is what the other states are going to do and, as I have said repeatedly, I do not believe that the Arizona law is a model. I don‟t want it in Florida, nor do I believe it is necessary in other states and I would like for us to get to a moment… JR: But you supported it… that impression that you support a law that discriminates against and persecutes Hispanics, Senator. MR: Yes, but look, but again the Arizona law… I believe that if the case had been different, the results would have been the same. If you have a threat at the borders of your state… JR: But you took the side of the victimizers who are persecuting Hispanics…
MR: But, Jorge, Arizona has a very special case, a border with Mexico that is threatened by the violence that is crossing the border, affecting North American citizens, even Hispanics who looked for their state government to react to that reality, and the reaction was this law. JR: MR: JR: And the consequences are terrible… Well, that is another… They‟re scared, there is persecution …
MR: But that is the consequence when the federal government does not do its part and then the states begin to make immigration laws and the immigration laws have that impact as they are having now in other states as well.
JR: And the Hispanics of Arizona don‟t see their Senator, the youngest one in the United States, Hispanic, who comes in their defense. MR: JR: Well, I defend the legal immigration system. Yes, but not the Hispanics of Arizona.
MR: Yes, but that just isn‟t correct… that is then to say that the Hispanics are in favor of illegal immigration , and Hispanics are not in favor of illegal immigration. JR: The majority of Hispanics according to the Pew Hispanic Center favor a migratory reform to legalize the undocumented. MR: But they do not support illegal immigration. To say that the Hispanic community are asking that this country ignore its laws and support illegal immigration is unfair…now, the reality is… JR: But the Pew Hispanic says that the majority of Hispanics favor the legalization of the undocumented. MR: But what is going on is that the majority of Hispanics, including me and you, also know human beings affected by this reality who have no documents. For us, for our community, the subject of migration is not a theoretical topic, it is not a newspaper article, it is a human reality of a human being that we love, we share with them, they are our neighbors. Then, one says, well, we would like to fix their situation, but we understand that there have to be immigration laws. JR: But you are the first Hispanic senator in the history of the United States, the first of seven who does not favor an immigration reform. MR: JR: But that is not correct. I do favor an immigration reform. But not the legalization of undocumented …
MR: What I do not favor are the ideas of President Obama and some persons of the left on how to reform the system. JR: The first of the seven Hispanic senators who does not favor the legalization of undocumented … MR: But that is not correct either. Because, for example, I have said that in the case of these young people that it is not their fault, a way has to be found to accommodate them, and I also have said that the creation of some system of “guest worker” or temporary worker would help to legalize many people who are now in situations like the one you have told me, but the best we can do is to create a system of legal immigration that works, that is modern, and if we can do that, then this subject of illegal immigration of the Hispanics is easier to deal with. JR: Let … let us talk about the Dream Act. The Dream Act would allow two million
undocumented students to remain in the United States and legalize their situation… But in September 2010 you said, speaking about the Dream Act essentially it would give amnesty to two million people, you said it in 2010, you also are not supporting these two million young people. MR: Well, this is not correct either. I do not support the Dream Act as written. I am proposing, and we will soon be proposing a law that I believe will have great bipartisan support, God willing, that will help many of these young people who are here under those circumstances. JR: What would your proposal be like?
MR: Well, different from the Dream Act. I begin by giving these young people who qualify, who came here before a certain age, who have lived here, who graduated from high school, who have no criminal record whatsoever, they wish to continue their studies, a visa would be given to them, a student visa which basically they could continue to renew when they finish their studies, they receive a workers visa so that they can continue to work in this country. This gives them the opportunity to live in this country, work, buy a house, get married, do everything they do but, obviously, they are not citizens. JR: With an age limitation?
MR: Well, obviously, the limit, we have not established the age limit yet either up or down, and we have worked with many young people who are affected to create those conditions. After 10 years basically, they will have no conditions on them and at that moment they will be in the same position as any other person in this country with a non-migratory visa. JR: How many would it help? How many would there be?
MR: Well, that is one of the details we are looking for and, obviously, that is the reason why we have not presented the law as yet. The people who will want to know how many people are affected or helped by that, how much it would cost, if it has any costs, and those are details we need to know, that we depend on the professionals here in the bureaucracy. JR: Senator, you, your critics in the Democratic party say that you want to make this proposal of a Dream Act Light, just to give it a name, to gain votes that it is a cynical proposal to gain votes in an electoral year because the Republican party is losing the Hispanic vote… MR: Well, two things, first, obviously, my critics in the left and in the Democratic Party will always criticize me, that‟s what they do. Second, I believe that this will not have any impact on the elections; anyway, I don‟t believe this proposal is going to change. JR: It is not to win the Hispanic vote…?
MR: It is not that I believe that to win the Hispanic vote for the Republicans this is not about the next four months, this is about the next 40 years; this is about committing to explain clearly what our positions are on economic matters, etc., and not do it solely in 30 second ads during September and October. One has to commit to the long term to do this, this is not a four-, five-month commitment, and I believe that there is still a lot to be done; I don‟t believe that this law or this proposal is going to have an impact on the voters either in favor or against.
JR: In a moment I will come back to the subject of the electoral campaign in this 2012, but I would like to go back to something a bit more personal and which motivated this conflict between Univision and you. On page 69 you describe as something terrible in 1987 when you return home, you see your mother and you see her very upset, and then you find out that Orlando Sicilia, the husband of your sister Barbara, had been arrested and accused of some drug-related crime, according to what you write in the book. And later your brother-in-law would be sentenced to 25 years imprisonment that is exactly the same thing we said in Univision. I understand that this bothered you and your family, I understand it perfectly, but the question is as news reporters, the voters don‟t have the right to know what type of relation you had with someone linked to drug traffic if you can get to the vice presidency? MR: Well, first two things, Jorge. Number one, I believe that, and I‟m going to explain it because what happened with Univision in that case was very unfortunate. I believe it will still remain as a black mark in the history of the Univision Network and of Univision News, and I‟m going to explain to you why. If you had questions, and I say you meaning Univision, about what impact that had on me, they should have called me directly. Unfortunately, that is not what Univision did. Univision called people related to the case, Univision called my sister directly, Univision showed up in front of the house JR: We looked for an answer from your office.
MR: No, that is not correct. Univision first called my sister, it stationed a team of cameras in front of my mother‟s house trying to capture the cameras, that is, if the story was really about me, they would have contacted me first. JR: You were 16 years old.
MR: Let me finish, excuse me, Jorge… then all these series of things, but it goes beyond that… later in the headline news of the national news of Univision, I understand that you were not on the air that night, but in the headlines of Univision national news they had the story that it was not about me, it was the personal story of two private citizens who had absolutely nothing to do… JR: But linked to you.
MR: Well, then, I should have been asked about those links. I would have been pleased to tell you that I had nothing to do with it, I was 16 years old; it had a very negative impact on my family. It was a very sad moment, but you did not do that; you persecuted first my sister and my family directly. What‟s more, it was me who called Univision, Univision did not call me because I thought it was a joke that someone was kidding, or that someone was trying to hurt me… JR: Now the story is true, you write it, it is there written on page 60.
MR: Correct, but that is not the problem… you did not call me, you called my family, it went beyond that, on the following day on Twitter, a well-known character, they put things like “Marco Rubio has links to drug trafficking” without explaining on Twitter, and later a Univision
reporter asked the governor of Florida if I should resign for something that happened over 20 years ago…That is ridiculous. JR: I understand that, but if you are going to get to the vice presidency, even the presidency of the United States, this type of connection had to be talked about… MR: But, Jorge, this is public record and if Univision calls me and asks me, look, we understand that it happened in your family, how did it affect you, what do you think, I would have been pleased to have answered all that. JR: And you say that it had no influence on you at that time, that is, he was not helping you financially Orlando Sicilia…? MR: JR: How? I ask you if Orlando, your brother-in-law, when you were 16 years old …
MR: Well, he was my brother-in-law and I was 16 years old; obviously, as I say in the book, I washed their dogs in his house; he and my sister surely gave me a gift for Christmas. JR: Does he participate now in any type of role in your campaign?
MR: No, in politics? No, my family has nothing to do with politics, it is the problem I had also neither my sister, they are, look, he made a mistake … JR: Does he live with your mother now?
MR: They live in the house that used to belong to my mother, now it belongs to them and my mother lives with them, that is correct. JR: Is there anything else you want to say about this?
MR: No, I believe that this is, look, over and done with. As I have said in my book, I was upset by the impact that it had on my mother, who had to see it on the news that she watches every night, but, even further, what upset me was that you did not contact me first; I am pleased to talk much about anything that has to deal with my life and how it impacted me, what I didn‟t like is that they went after my family, and I believe that what it teaches us the most because this story should not have been done is because not even the Democratic party has touched that subject, not even the Democrats who, as we well know, are never lacking for excuses to attack me, not even they have touched that subject, I want to leave all of this in the past but I have written it in the book, and I‟m glad you asked me about that. JR: Another topic, English, on page 192 you say: “English is our official language de facto I don‟t believe there is anything bad in recognizing it as such.” You speak Spanish at home, with your mother and your siblings. Why make English the official language, for what? MR: Because I believe that the country has to have a language that unites us all. The government cannot tell you what language to speak at home and I have said that in the book
also, they can‟t tell you what language to speak at home, they can‟t tell you in what language you have to order your food in a restaurant, they can‟t tell you in what language you must receive the news, neither is anyone talking, on the contrary, I believe it is good for people to speak several languages, but I believe that there must be an official language that unifies the entire country. That is, that we can all speak four languages, but each one of us must have a common language, and I believe that, logically, that one is English. JR: But you said that there was nothing wrong with English being the official language and, nevertheless, I am going to tell you several bad things: millions of voters could be affected because they do not see the ballots in Spanish; the police could stop or discriminate against people who have some type of accent in Spanish; that is, there are many negative consequences. MR: JR: MR: JR: MR: JR: No, no, please. People could be fired from work, from school for talking in Spanish. No, no, look. All of these are concrete consequences, Senator. No, but they are not; you and I live in Florida, correct? And we speak Spanish and English.
MR: The official language by the constitution of Florida is English. Have you ever been stopped because of an accent? I don‟t know of anyone who has been arrested in Florida because of an accent, and if you go into any school in Florida, you are going to find people talking in Spanish, even … JR: MR: But … And even the students.
JR: Perhaps if it is the official language, it could lead to discriminating and persecuting Hispanics who speak … MR: I don‟t agree, it‟s that I don‟t agree. First, the majority of Hispanics what they complain about is that the children do not want to speak Spanish, so I believe that the Hispanic community is not really a topic. JR: But why change it, Senator?
MR: But it‟s that I am not saying that this is the most important matter that the country is facing but if you ask me my opinion. I live in a state, in Florida, of all the states I live in Florida where the official language is English and where Univision has its headquarters, where people receive news and ballots in Spanish and a whole number of things; that does not prohibit the constitutional rights. And making English the official language of the country in no way gives
police the opportunity to arrest someone or stop someone because of an accent. JR: MR: But you know the consequences that it could have. But it‟s just that I have seen it in real life, I am living in Florida.
JR: In real life, I have seen several states that for the simple fact of having an accent or looking Hispanic or having a slightly darker skin, people are detained. MR: JR: MR: JR: MR: JR: But that has nothing to do with it. In Georgia, in Alabama, in Arizona. Yes, but that is a decision. In Florida it happens also. But that is not, that has nothing to do with the official language. But if you convert English into official language the consequences…
MR: But it‟s just that it has nothing to do with its converting, Jorge, please, that the language, that English be the official language of the United States does not give the right to a policeman to legally stop someone because he has an accent. JR: But in the perception that it can be done, that discrimination is possible.
MR: Yes, but it is that they can be discriminated against like that is not the law. I mean that discrimination is a decision that a police agent makes personally, etcetera, it has nothing to do with the official language. JR: Senator, David Axelrod, the person in charge of the campaign for the reelection of President Barack Obama told us in a recent interview that it would be an insult, that is the word he used, that it would be an insult to the Latin community if you are nominated as a candidate to the vice presidency because of your anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic positions. MR: JR: MR: JR: MR: JR: Well, but I don‟t know what position is anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic. You support Mitt Romney as a candidate to the presidency. Correct. Mitt Romney believes in self-deportation that… Look, today… Is that not an anti-immigrant position?
MR: I believe that is one way of describing everything that people have done already; there are many people who have returned, to others it seems that the economy is not going well here. JR: Yes, but he wants to self-deport the majority of the undocumented…
MR: No, but self-deportation means that the person decides to leave the country because life here becomes more difficult, which is a consequence of the horrible economy we have under the leadership of this president. But, for example, I read recently in the Wall Street Journal an article that says that immigrants are more, as they say, more “entrepreneurial,” that they like to start businesses and enterprises. This has become more difficult under President Obama. Does that make him in an anti-immigrant? Obviously, people would say that is a ridiculous argument. I believe that they are in favor of a legal immigration system that works; to say that they are anti-immigrants is ridiculous, to say that because I do not support the specific ideas that Barack Obama has about immigration, I think that is ridiculous, what‟s more, I support 100 percent legal immigration, I support having a legal immigration system in this country that works well, I support the legal immigration that reunifies, that unites families, that I believe that is important as an immigration system. Simply, I think that this country has to have a legal immigration system that is respected and that works. JR: But the perception is, Senator, and I end with this is that you, you could be the first Hispanic president in the history of the United States, you are perhaps one of the most important Hispanic leaders that the United States has had, but at the same time many believe that you have anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant positions. MR: Well, many on the left want to say that.
JR: You are in favor of the Arizona law that persecutes immigrants, you are against the Dream Act that would benefit undocumented immigrants, you are against the legalization that would benefit the undocumented, you want to make English the official language, many think that these are anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant positions. MR: But, first, that is not a correct description of my positions, I support the right of Arizona to make that law but I do not believe that it should be a… JR: MR: But you support a law that persecutes the undocumented model for the country
MR: but I reiterate and repeat, I respect the right of Arizona to have a law like the one it had, but I don‟t believe that it should be a model for the country. I do want to help those young people who are here undocumented, and I am strongly working to attain this, what I do not support is the manner in which the Dream Act does it. I do want to create a system of legal immigration that works. If we have an immigration system that works, then we are not going to have so many… JR: But, for now, we are leaving 11 million in the dark.
MR: No, but darkness is left by the Democrats who control this process and who do not consider other ideas that are not their own, on the contrary, they use the immigration matter as a political weapon. JR: But, Senator
MR: As I write in the book, they had the opportunity to deal with this matter when they had the majority; they had 60 votes in the Senate and the presidency of the House and they did absolutely nothing. JR: Senator, before you arrived, I was looking at your books, you have books of Ronald Reagan, whom you admire, of John McCain, of George W. Bush, those three expresidents all were in favor--or ex-candidates--were in favor of a legalization of the undocumented, and you are not… MR: JR: MR: JR: I am in favor, but I reiterate and repeat… You know what I am referring to. And I understand what you are referring to. They are your idols, and you don‟t follow those ideas.
MR: Yes, but I am my own person to start, and I have my own ideas, and my ideas are based first on my life experiences and, also, on what is happening today in this country. I understand that for this country to fix the immigration system, ample support from both parties is needed, and I understand that, at this moment, those solutions that, for example, were sought four; five years ago were counterproductive because they have delayed the debate on immigration. JR: You believe that what Reagan did in „86 was wrong?
MR: What Reagan did in „86, it was another time in the history of this country, when that matter was not controversial, and I am going to say that at the beginning of the year 2000, 2001, those matters were not as controversial either. These matters have been getting more difficult because the subject of illegal immigration was not dealt with. And I am looking for space, I am looking to see how we can create space so that there can be some type of progress on this immigration matter. At this time, that space does not exist, and to create that space several things have to be done. Solutions have to be created that both parties can support, the confidence of the American people has to be gained that the government is serious about fulfilling its obligations under the immigration system, and also an explanation must be given so that the people understand that the immigration matter is not simply a matter of laws, it is a human matter, that we are dealing with human beings who are looking for a better opportunity JR: But what people were telling me when I said that I was going to interview you is defend us that Senator Rubio come out to defend us, the undocumented. MR: But I do not believe that defending them…well and I understand that.
JR: Many get angry with you, Senator, because you can be president of the United States and you do not come out to defend the poorest, the most persecuted victims, the most vulnerable. MR: I don‟t believe that is true.
JR: It could be like when Richard Nixon went to China, that nobody expected that, when Ronald Reagan made the immigration reform nobody expected it, you can change that and you don‟t want to do it, Senator. MR: Look, Jorge, but let me explain. Unfortunately, many promises have been made to these groups. Here every two years the candidates come along and promise them that they are going to do this and they are going to do that knowing that it is impossible, knowing that they are not going to be able to achieve it because the votes are not there, what I am looking for is something that can be done and to be able to… JR: Because there are no votes.
MR: I did not invent the rules of the Republic. The Republic has a reality; you must have 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House for something to occur. What I am looking for is where that space exists to help human beings like these, but on the other hand gain the necessary support, and that balance is what I am looking for and, at times, that is not going to reflect the nonrealistic ideas that the left has presented to win the Hispanic votes in this country. I talk about that in my book, and I think that that is very sad, that it is being used in that manner. JR: I have taken the greatest amount of time talking about politics; I‟m going to steal a couple more minutes. Your love for Jeannette is all over this book. MR: A Colombian [LAUGHTER]
JR: But it is impressive how you say that she doesn‟t know about politics, but she has this impressive perception of what works in politics. MR: What she doesn‟t have is that enthusiasm about politics at a personal level; she has no political aspirations for me or for her. JR: Can you see her as a first lady?
MR: No, I see her as my wife. She has supported me in everything I have done because I believe that she thinks we have the opportunity to make a difference and on those matters that you have touched, we talk a lot because we know many people who are in this circumstance. We understand that the immigration subject is a complex subject in this country. I know people who one day riding a bus in Miami received advice from a friend that was incorrect, and now the documents are not valid and they are going to be deported, and that is sad. I try to help with those matters in my office. I also know people who have relatives who have been waiting 10 years to enter legally, and my message to them cannot be come in illegally because it is cheaper and less expensive, and to balance those things is not easy, and she and I live inside
that and we share much regarding that also. JR: MR: JR: Impressive the incident where you save the life of your son Dominick. Well, impressive simply because for me… He almost drowned and you saved him.
MR: Well, the back door opens and I hear that, and when I go out I find him in the pool; obviously, it would have been a tragedy for our family, but what I realized at that time, is of how little importance sometimes are some of these things. JR: MR: Family is the most important. When one has a family, health and God‟s blessings, everything else is life.
JR: And I finish with a sort of peace pipe, while we were correcting and looking at the place where we were going to sit, I realized that you have some cigars here. MR: JR: MR: JR: Nicaragua. MR: JR: MR: JR: MR: JR: MR: JR: [Laughter] Padron, legal. Can I show them? Yes, of course. And I was looking and saying it cannot be that he has Havana cigars, not from
From Nicaragua. Do you like them? I like them a lot. You wouldn‟t want your children to smoke, I imagine. I don‟t let them see me smoking, sometimes they see me but not often. They are Padrón, Padrón. Padrón what do you want… I was reading online that they‟re the best in the world
MR: That‟s what my grandfather smokes, that‟s what my grandfather smoked, and I try not to smoke as much as before, I am not allowed to smoke in the house, obviously, but it reminds me a lot of my grandfather who always smoked, sometimes three times a day. He sat on the porch of our house and talked about history and politics.
That you called “papa,” who was your inspiration. Take a cigar if you want, Jorge.
JR: Thank you, Senator, I thank you very much and especially that you were so open to discuss absolutely all subjects. MR: JR: MR: But of course. We have to do it again. We‟re going to do it. Senator, thank you. Thank you.
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