Sen. Marco Rubio’s speech Thursday at the Faith and Freedom “Road to Majority” conference in D.C. was interrupted by a couple of activists that demanded that the 2016 GOP presidential candidate support amnesty for adult illegal immigrants.
One man announced his name and said he is a “black male” and “undocumented,” and another man announced his name and shouted at Mr. Rubio, “Why do you keep supporting the deportation of families?”
“Implement DAPA! Implement DAPA!” he yelled, reffering to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, as he was ushered out of the room.
President Obama implemented DAPA, a deportation amnesty which applies to illegal immigrants who arrived as adults. But the policy is on hold after a federal judge issued an injunction in February. The Obama administration has appealed, but has so far been unable to convince the courts to lift the injunction.
Mr. Rubio responded to the disruption by telling the crowd that is the difference between the United States and other countries.
“You do that in another country, you will be in jail tonight,” the Florida Republican said. “If you do that in another country, your family house will be raided, your businesses will be closed.
“In America, people have the right to interrupt a speech, you have the right to be rude, you have the right to be wrong,” Mr. Rubio said. “We live in a free society.”
Mr. Rubio was part of a group of eight Senators that helped push an immigration overhaul through the Senate in 2013 that called for securing the border and included a quick path to legal status, and an eventually path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants.
He came under fire from conservatives and has since backed away from the bill. The effort died after the House failed to act on similar legislation.
As a result, Mr. Rubio has become a favorite target of illegal-immigrant activists.
Mr. Rubio was the first of about a dozen presidential candidates that are scheduled to speak at the three-day gathering of religious and social conservatives.
The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics ranks Mr. Rubio in the top tier of presidential candidates, alongside former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who has yet to announce his candidacy.