The pro-immigrant voicemail once left by Sen. Marco Rubio’s mother to her son is at the center of Spanish-language ads calling out his failure to permanently protect immigrant families in his state, and across the nation.
“This is advice from the person who loves you most in the world,” says a voice portraying the late Oriales García Rubio. “Please don’t mess with the immigrants. They are human beings just like us, and they came to the country for the same reasons that we came: to work, to improve their lives. Don’t hurt them. Poor little ones.”
The Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes (FLIC Votes) notes that Rubio formerly touted the voicemail to reporters, playing the recording for TIME Magazine in 2013. That same outlet even hailed him as “The Republican Savior” that same year. But nearly a decade later, Rubio has failed to heed the advice given to him in the message.
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“Rubio himself comes from a family of immigrants who came to the United States in the 1950’s,” FLIC Votes said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “Rubio has publicly stated his family ‘immigrated to America with little more than the hope for a better life’; yet the senator has failed to support policies to protect immigrants, instead has supported policies that attack them and separate families.”
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As previously noted, Rubio has in recent years failed to support humane immigration bills putting undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization, including hundreds of thousands of people in the state of Florida.
While three Florida Republicans were among the nine GOP members overall who last year voted for the Dream and Promise Act—a bill that would protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status holder, and farmworkers—Rubio did nothing to help advance the legislation in the Senate.
“Even though the senator seems to have forgotten his immigrant roots, prioritizing his political aspirations, his mother certainly didn’t,” FLIC Votes continued. TIME Magazine’s Michael Grunwald reported at the time that García Rubio’s heartfelt, Spanish-language message reminded her son that “undocumented Americans—los pobrecitos, she called them, the poor things—work hard and get treated horribly.”
This voicemail would not prove to be the last time an immigrant mother urged Rubio to use his power to protect families.
As previously noted, a group of immigrant moms confronted Rubio on Capitol Hill in 2013, worried over rumors that he was walking away from the comprehensive immigration reform package he was supposedly championing. “I am the author of this bill, this proposal,” a flustered Rubio told the mothers, adding that he didn’t understand why he was being asked to commit to himself. But the moms’ fears were absolutely right. By 2016, Rubio had voted for a mass deportation president.
“Marco Rubio is a political chameleon, constantly shifting positions depending on whatever is politically convenient for him at any time,” FLIC’s Thomas Kennedy told Daily Kos. “In 2013, he supported immigration reform but ultimately voted against his own bill because of pressure from the tea party.” But Rubio has gone even further: During his failed presidential run, he endorsed an end to the popular DACA program.
“His own mother begged him in a voicemail released to the public ‘not to mess with the immigrants,’” Kennedy continued. “He didn’t listen and now he has embraced the full nativism and anti-immigrant hysterical vitriol of Trump’s Republican Party.”
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