At an event with tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Friday, activists supporting the idea that undocumented students should be given a path to citizenship were booed and threatened with arrest.
“They were threatened with arrest, which for a young DREAM Act student means automatic deportation,” Presente Action co-founder Roberto Lovato told Raw Story.
The group had used Rubio’s appearance at the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network Conference to launch their “No Somos Rubios” campaign and to point out that the senator opposes the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act while supporting Arizona’s SB 1070 anti-immigrant law.
“On my way in today, I got a text from a friend that said someone is flying a plane over the building with a banner that says, ‘Marco, no somos Rubios,’ which means, ‘Marco, we’re not blond,'” Rubio joked. “Which by coincidence, neither am I.”
Just as he was getting warmed up, protesters supporting the DREAM Act interrupted the speech. The conservative crowd immediately responded with boos.
“These young people are very brave to be here today,” Rubio, a Cuban American, told the crowd as the protesters were being escorted from the room. “They raise a very legitimate issue. And if they would give me the courtesy of finishing my speech where I’m going to speak about this then I ask that you guys let them stay.”
But Lovato told Raw Story that Rubio’s words were just “political theater.”
“See, this is where you see the the two faces of Marco Rubio,” Lovato said. “Rubio was talking loudly about his dreamy DREAM Act and his immigration story. Meanwhile, his security was quietly telling them that they were going to be arrested if they didn’t get out now.”
“You look at his record and it’s undeniable: He supports the racist SB 1070 there in Arizona, he is against comprehensive immigration reform, he is against the DREAM Act.
Lovato noted that the “No Somos Rubios” campaign was indeed a play on words. It means, “We are not Rubios,” but Rubio in Spanish also means “blond.”
“Who is backing Marco Rubio? It’s not a bunch of Latinos from the Southwestern United States,” he explained. “It’s the tea party, which is 88 percent white, only 4 percent Latino.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Jan. 27, 2012.
Watch this video from Presente Action, broadcast Jan. 27, 2012.
[Ed. note: This story was updated for clarity]