The LGBT rights group GetEqual on Tuesday alleged a member of Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) staff attempted to get their co-director deported.
The incident allegedly occurred during a sit-in at the the Republican senator’s Tampa office to protest his stance on comprehensive immigration reform and employment discrimination. In a news release, GetEqual said a Rubio staffer told police their co-director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez was “here illegally” as the officers were escorting the protesters out of the building.
The officers proceeded to ask Sousa-Rodriguez for his immigration papers and drivers license, according to the group.
“It’s no wonder Senator Rubio embraced the ‘Border Surge’ amendment in the Senate yesterday, which will destroy border towns and immigrant families — his staff are doing exactly the same thing in their own office,” Sousa-Rodriguez said in the news release. “The idea that Senator Rubio is taking immigration reform seriously is a joke — even his staff is engaged in profiling immigrants and deporting as many people as possible. Rubio is not just anti-LGBT, but he’s also anti-immigrant.”
Rubio said Tuesday he plans to fully support the immigration reform bill thanks to a provision to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rubio, one of the so-called Gang of Eight Republican and Democratic senators steering the bill, had threatened to kill the legislation if a provision to include rights for same-sex couples was added.
His threat lead Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to withdraw his amendment to provide binational same-sex couples with the same protections as binational opposite-sex couples. But Leahy reintroduced the amendment earlier this month.
That issue in particular directly impacts Sousa-Rodriguez. Though he is married to a permanent resident, he cannot be sponsored for citizenship because he is married to another man. Sousa-Rodriguez is undocumented, but has received a work permit under the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program.