A Tea Party supporter reportedly tried to throttle an immigration activist who protested at a Republican rally in Anderson, South Carolina on Wednesday.
According to the Latin Post, a group of activists from United We Dream (UWD) and the DREAM Organizing Network (DON) turned up at the “Faith and Freedom” barbecue event to protest the Rubio’s “flip-flopping” on the topic of comprehensive immigration reform.
“The son of Cuban-American immigrants, Rubio originally favored and voted for comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate in June 2013,” wrote the Post’s Michael Oleaga. “Rubio has since distanced himself from the bill he voted in favor of after conservative activists voiced their criticism of the bill.”
Rubio has also spoken out against President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan, which would allow people who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented minors to have a path to citizenship.
DACA, Rubio has said, is responsible for the massive influx of undocumented minors who have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border. Rubio has also expressed his resistance to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would allow undocumented Americans to begin the process of becoming a citizen.
At the Republican fundraiser on Wednesday, four activists stood at the back of the hall with a banner that read, “Rubio Me Quiere Deportar,” or “Rubio wants to deport me.”
“I am Jose and we are DREAMers from the state of Florida, and our senator wants to deport us,” said one protester.
“Senator Rubio, you don’t stand with Latinos,” another protester said. “Latinos stand with DREAMers.”
A third protester said, “Senator Rubio, stop flip flopping with our community.”
The Republican and Tea Party crowd began to boo and jeer at the activists. A fifth protester was seized by security guards and forced out of the room as audience members applauded.
Then, according to DON organizer Oliver Merino, the rally turned violent.
“Tonight, we disrupted the event that Marco Rubio was speaking at here at in Anderson, South Carolina. As we were escorted out, there were people in the audience that got really mad with us to the point that they turned physical,” Merino said. “There was somebody in the room that actually not only attempted to choke me but actually got close to me enough to put his hands around my neck. It was really disappointing.”
The barbecue was held as a fundraiser for Rep. Jeff Duncan (R), a Tea Party favorite who declared in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school said that to enforce stringent background checks for firearms purchases would bring the U.S. to a Rwanda-style “genocide.”
Watch video about this story, embedded below via United We Stand:
[image of Oliver Merino via screencap]