Politics & Policy

Immigration Protesters Try, Fail to Interrupt Rubio Speech

(File photo: Andrew Burton/Getty)

Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at the Road to Majority Conference Thursday was interrupted by pro-immigration protesters, who tried and failed to shout down the presidential hopeful.

In the midst of Rubio’s remarks, the two men entered the ballroom at Washington, D.C.’s Omi Shoreham hotel and began to yell, one shouting “DAPA” and “DACA” repeatedly. DAPA, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, is the policy that grants people who came to the country illegally but have children who are legal citizens of the United States temporary permission to stay in the country. It was established by the executive orders President Barack Obama issued in November, as was DACA, which defers deportation for people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Both programs are currently in limbo after a Texas court temporarily blocked them from going into effect.

Rubio responded calmly to the protesters, pausing his speech and telling the audience he would continue in a moment. The two men were escorted out of the room, and could be heard yelling in the hallway outside for several minutes afterward.

When Rubio began speaking again, he earned a standing ovation from the crowd. He parlayed the interruption into a discussion of American exceptionalism: In other countries, Rubio said, those protesters would be put in jail for speaking their minds. But Americans, he said, “have a right to interrupt . . . they have a right to be rude . . . they have a right to be wrong.”

Pro-immigration protesters have become a set piece at events for Republican presidential hopefuls in recent days. About a dozen protesters interrupted Jeb Bush’s campaign launch in Miami on Monday.

Full audio below:

— Alexis Levinson is the senior political reporter for National Review.

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