"Pro-Legal Immigration" Sen. Rubio Channels Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups

November 17, 2011 1:46 pm ET

Last month, freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has asserted that the Republican Party "cannot be the anti-illegal immigration party. We have to be the pro-legal immigration party." However, despite preaching a tolerance for immigrants and immigration, Rubio has often agreed with and pushed for policies that are bolstered by extremist and racist anti-immigrant voices. Many of the comments he has made echo those made by anti-immigration activists and Southern Poverty Law Center-labeled hate groups.

Rubio: "We Cannot Be The Anti-Illegal Immigration Party"

Rubio: "We Have To Be A Party That Advocates For A Legal Immigration System That's Good For Americans." According to the Huffington Post:

"We cannot be the anti-illegal immigration party. We have to be the pro-legal immigration party," [Rubio] said. "We have to be a party that advocates for a legal immigration system that's good for Americans, good for America and honors our tradition both as a nation of immigrants and as a nation of law." [Huffington Post, 10/5/11]

Rubio And FAIR: Implement E-Verify

Rubio: "We Must First Secure The Border And Implement An E-Verify System." From a press release on Senator Rubio's website: "Immigration is woven into the fabric of our nation and is a critical part of our future. But we can't be the only nation in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws. Consistently, I have stated that a modernization of the legal immigration system is impossible unless we must first secure the border and implement an E-Verify system that will help prevent the hiring and exploitation of undocumented workers. That's why I support Senator Charles Grassley's bill to make E-Verify permanent." [Rubio.Senate.gov, 6/15/11]

FAIR President: "E-Verify Is A Proven Secure And Reliable System For Denying Jobs To Illegal Workers." From an op-ed written by Federation for American Immigration Reform President Dan Stein in the Washington Times:

Whether it was his intent or not, the timing of Mr. [Jose Antonio] Vargas' confession [that he is an undocumented immigrant] provides compelling testimony in support of legislation introduced earlier this month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (Texas Republican) and the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa Republican). Both of these bills would mandate that instead of a cursory inspection of any of more than two dozen different documents, all employers would be required to use the E-Verify system, which verifies information against Social Security and immigration records. [...]

E-Verify is a proven secure and reliable system for denying jobs to illegal workers. For those who still may harbor doubts that universal employment verification is necessary, Jose Antonio Vargas is Exhibit A. [Washington Times, 7/4/11]

FAIR Has Been Designated A "Hate Group." From the Southern Poverty Law Center: "In late 2006, FAIR hired Joseph Turner as its western field representative after Oltman departed. Turner was the founder of the Southern California group Save Our State, a now-defunct anti-immigrant hate group that was known for attracting neo-Nazis to its rallies. ... He left FAIR in December 2007 shortly after the SPLC, in tandem with publishing an extensive report on the group's racism that included Turner's inflammatory comments, designated FAIR as a hate group." [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 11/17/11]

SPLC: "The Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Is A Group With One Mission: To Severely Limit Immigration Into The United States." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center: "The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a group with one mission: to severely limit immigration into the United States. Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government, this veneer hides much ugliness. FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR's founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country. One of the group's main goals is upending the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a decades-long, racist quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans. FAIR President Dan Stein has called the Act a 'mistake.'" [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 11/17/11, emphasis added]

Rubio And ALIPAC: Deport People, Don't Grant "Amnesty"

Rubio: "You're Never Going To Have A Legal Immigration System That Works If You Grant Amnesty." During an interview with Human Events, Rubio said:

That being said, America cannot be the only country in the world that does not observe or enforce its immigration laws. A key part of your sovereignty is the ability to control the influx and out flow of your people is the ability to secure your border. And you're never going to be able to do that if you have an immigration system that says 'come to this country illegally. If you're able to stay here long enough, you're able to stay here forever.' And you're never going to have a legal immigration system that works if you grant amnesty.

And that's why I've always believed that, no matter how well-intentioned it is. I understand the human stories that we're going to...We're gonna....There are going to be stories of very young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age who don't even speak Spanish that are going to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place. And it's gonna feel weird and I understand that. The goal here is to have an immigration policy that works. And if you provide a path for people to enter this country illegally and if they stay here long enough and pay enough in taxes, well let them stay legally...why would anyone come in through the legal process? [Human Events, 5/6/10, emphasis added]

ALIPAC Founder: "Americans Want Immigration Enforcement Instead" Of The "Bad Dream Amnesty Act." According to Americans for Legal Immigration PAC:

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC or ALIPAC is launching a national campaign to try and stop Senator Durbin's Dream Act Amendment, which would provide Amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, give them taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition rates and place them ahead of American students.

"This is the Bad Dream Amnesty Act," says William Gheen of ALIPAC. "This legislation would replace American students in the limited seats in college at taxpayer expense! Our organization has helped to defeat this measure many times on the state level and now we will try to stop the Senate from passing it." [...]

"This legislation will harm American students and families while rewarding illegal aliens. It will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and provide another big incentive for people to illegally immigrate to the United States," says Gheen. "Four out of five Americans want the Senators to say No to the Dream Act and any Visa increases. Americans want immigration enforcement instead!" [ALIPAC.us, 9/17/07, emphasis added]

ALIPAC Founder: Use The Census To "Deport Those Found In Violation Of Our Immigration Laws." According to American for Legal Immigration PAC: "'Each illegal alien counted by the census without deportation will take away taxpayer resource allocation and congressional representation from one legal American citizen,' said William Gheen. 'We want Congress to take action now to authorize and require the use of census data collected to identify illegal aliens, exclude them from the census count for tax resources and Congressional redistricting, and to detain and deport those found in violation of our immigration laws.'" [ALIPAC.us, 4/5/10]

SPLC: "ALI-PAC Is Supported By The Federation For American Immigration Reform," Which Has Been "Designated As A Hate Group." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The website of the influential political action committee Americans for Legal Immigration, commonly known as ALI-PAC, contains a list of "Gheen-isms," folksy nativist aphorisms from ALI-PAC founder William Gheen. Here's one example: "Call me old fashioned, but people should be able to shop at Wal-Mart without worrying about catching [t]uberculosis." [...]

Since his initial victory, Gheen has gone on national media outlets including CNN, FOX and National Public Radio to launch preemptive strikes against any bill or ordinance that he perceives as sympathetic to immigrants, and to support laws proposed to deny public benefits to immigrants, to empower local police to arrest Latinos on federal immigration charges, and to fine anyone who employs an undocumented immigrant. He even pressed for a Senate bill to fund a study of buying buses to deport immigrants in massive numbers. ALI-PAC is supported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, recently designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, and allied with various Minuteman factions.

"The rallying cry is: Illegals Go Home!' Gheen declares on the ALI-PAC website. "No corporate propaganda will change the fact that most Americans do not want to surrender or capitulate to the lawless masses rushing into our nation." [Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2008, emphasis added]

Rubio And ProEnglish: Make English The Official Language

Rubio: "We Have To Have A Common Language That Unites The People." According to the Miami Herald: "Rubio, who is Cuban-American, said he agrees with DeMint's position that English should be the official language of the U.S. 'We have to have a common language that unites the people,' said Rubio, the former state lawmaker from Miami. 'I'm not in favor of banning other languages, but my name is spelled the same way in Spanish as it is in English.'" [Miami Herald, 6/19/09]

At The Top Of ProEnglish's Agenda Is "Declaring English The Official Language Of The United States." According to the ProEnglish mission page:


  • Adopting laws or constitutional amendments declaring English the official language of the United States, and of individual states.
  • Defending the right of individual states to make English the official language of government operations
  • Ending bilingual education (e.g. foreign language immersion) programs in public schools
  • Repealing federal mandates for the translation of government documents and voting ballots into languages other than English.
  • Opposing the admission of territories as states unless they have adopted English as their official language.


  • In a pluralistic nation such as ours, the function of government should be to foster and support the similarities that unite us, rather than institutionalize the differences that divide us.
  • Our nation's public schools have the clear responsibility to help students who don't know English to learn that language as quickly as possible. To do otherwise is to sentence the child to a lifetime of political and economic isolation. Quality teaching of English and America's civic culture should be a part of every student's curriculum. The study of foreign languages, as an academic discipline, should be strongly encouraged.
  • All candidates for U.S. citizenship should be required to demonstrate knowledge of English and an understanding of our system of government, at a level sufficient to vote in the language of our country English.
  • Naturalization ceremonies, including the Oath of Citizenship, must be conducted in English.
  • The right to use other languages must be respected.

[ProEnglish, accessed 11/17/11]

ProEnglish Was Founded By Anti-Immigrant Activist John Tanton: According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The organized anti-immigration "movement" is almost entirely the handiwork of one man, Michigan activist John H. Tanton.

Here is a list of 13 groups in the loose-knit Tanton network, followed by acronyms if the groups use them, founding dates, and Tanton's role in the groups. [...]

Pro English
1994, founded and funded

[Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 11/17/11]

  • SPLC: "John Tanton Is The Racist Architect Of The Modern Anti-Immigrant Movement." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center: "John Tanton is the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. He created a network of organizations - the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA - that have profoundly shaped the immigration debate in the United States. A retired Michigan ophthalmologist, Tanton has white nationalist beliefs and has written that to maintain American culture, 'a European-American majority' is required. As of 2010, Tanton served on FAIR's board of directors." [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 11/17/11]