Marco Rubio Ignores Two Questions on Immigrant Detention
Today, we tried asking Senator Marco Rubio about ending the 34,000 immigrant detention quota and were ignored…twice.
In the past, Sen. Rubio has answered our question by stating how “we need to enforce the law,” but does not address the corporate influence from private prison industry in establishing immigration policies. On November 24 in Grinnell, Iowa Sen. Rubio responded, “Ultimately, whatever the best way to enforce the law, we need to do it. Irrespectful of who the provider is.” The following week in New Hampshire, the republican presidential candidate again said “we have to enforce our immigration laws.”
This morning in Ankeny, Sen. Rubio didn’t take questions from the audience during his town hall event following the Republican debate last night. Hector and I waited in line to ask him questions as he talked with many people and took lots of pictures. Sen. Rubio ignored Hector’s question after hearing about GEO Group contributing to his campaign, the Florida based private prison which lobbied and profits from the detention quota, and told Hector “thanks for coming out, man.”
It’s difficult to hear Hector in the first video with nearby conversations, but this was the question he began to ask Senator Rubio:
“Hi Senator Rubio, as a young millennial I’m worried about corporations influencing our elected officials. I read reports stating you received contributions from private prison corporations, such as GEO Group, which profits from locking up immigrants and lobbied for the 34,000 immigrant detention mandate in the federal budget…”
Sen. Rubio interrupted, “Thanks for coming out man,” as he gave Hector a friendly pat on the arm and continued to shake hands with others.
Hector tried addressing him again, “but you didn’t really answer my question.”
After I recorded Kathleen’s interaction with the Senator about the $1 trillion nuclear weapons plan further down the handshake line, I had another opportunity to ask him about the detention quota.
I shook Sen. Rubio’s hand and asked, “Would you end the 34,000 immigrant detention quota?"
Sen. Rubio didn’t address me as he continued walking past and shaking hands telling others “thanks for coming out,” even as the person next to me was waiting for the presidential candidate to respond to my question. I tried getting his attention again, “it’s lobbied by private prisons.”
Afterwards, a woman from CBS News asked me about my question I tried to ask Senator Rubio. We spoke for about 10 minutes about the private prison industry and the immigrant detention quota, which she never heard of before. I also spoke with a reporter from The Des Moines Register before the event started. Hector spoke briefly with a reporter from The Guardian about his question being ignored as well.