Immigrant Son

Marco Rubio wants to sell the GOP on a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans. So why is his mom calling?

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Peter Hapak for TIME

Oriales García Rubio knows how it feels to want more. When she was a girl in central Cuba in the 1930s, her family of nine lived in a one-room house with a dirt floor. Her dolls were Coke bottles dressed in rags. She dreamed of becoming an actress. Instead she married a security guard, moved with him to the U.S. and found work as a hotel maid. Her husband got a job as a bartender while starting a series of failed businesses—a vegetable stand, a dry cleaner, a grocery. They never had much. But their house had a real floor. Their daughters had real dolls. They sent all four of their children to college to chase their own dreams.

That’s why on the morning of Dec. 21, she called her youngest son, Marco Antonio Rubio, the 41-year-old Senator from Florida and great Hispanic hope of the Republican Party—or, as she calls him, Tony. She got his voice mail. “Tony, some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world,” she said in Spanish. “Don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don’t mess with them.” She reminded him that undocumented Americans—los pobrecitos, she called them, the poor things—work hard and get treated horribly. “They’re human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please, don’t mess with them.”

(PHOTOS: Marco Rubio, Republican Savior)

Rubio comes from a family of immigrants and married into another family of immigrants and lives in a neighborhood of immigrants, West Miami, the bilingual bedroom community where he came of age and began his dazzling ascent from city commissioner to state house speaker to U.S. Senator. Now, just two years after he arrived in Washington, the charismatic conservative often hailed as the Tea Party’s answer to Barack Obama has emerged as the most influential voice in the national debate over immigration reform. He’s also the key player in his party’s efforts to make up to Hispanic voters after a disastrous 2012 campaign featuring Republican candidates who proposed electric fences and alligators along the southern border, as well as Mitt Romney’s suggestion of “self-deportation” for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. GOP leaders know they have a demographic problem. They hope Rubio can help provide the solution, which is why they’ve chosen him to deliver the response to Obama’s State of the Union address on Feb. 12—in English and Spanish.

But while Rubio is a child of immigrants, he’s also a child of the conservative movement, an ambitious ideologue and former political operative who speaks partisan Republican with the fluency of a native. (Romney, by contrast, spoke it as a second language.) Like Paul Ryan, a potential 2016 rival, he’s part of a new generation of lean and hungry conservatives who grew up in the antigovernment Reagan era and entered politics after the scorched-earth Gingrich revolution. Bipartisan compromise is not usually his thing.

So he’s navigating a borderland of his own. He has endorsed a path to citizenship that he once derided as “code for amnesty,” risking a backlash from many loyal supporters who see los pobrecitos as freeloaders. But he has also pushed to make that path more arduous, demanding much tougher enforcement first, insisting he won’t get into a who-can-be-nicest bidding war with Obama and pledging to walk away from reform if the final legislation doesn’t reflect conservative principles. In an hour-long Feb. 1 interview with TIME, he emphasized that the undocumented have no right to stay in the U.S., vowed to oppose any bill that rewards them for breaking the law and defended the motives of hard-line “shamnesty” critics who say illegal immigrants are taking taxpayers for a ride. “Someone’s violated the law, and they’re receiving taxpayer benefits? That’s a legitimate reason to be upset,” Rubio says.

(MORE: Marco Rubio’s Agile Courtship of Conservative Media)

It’s a thin, hard line to walk: between the Republican establishment and the base, between compassion and the rule of law, between family and politics. And Rubio is walking it on an issue no politician has cracked in nearly two decades while testing the support of the grassroots Tea Party conservatives he will need if he seeks the White House in 2016. So far, though, he seems to be succeeding. After helping to craft bipartisan reforms in the Senate, he has served as their chief spokesman on right-wing radio and Fox News, getting remarkably sympathetic hearings from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talkers whose antiamnesty crusades helped kill similar efforts in the George W. Bush era. Almost all of them have praised his courage—Limbaugh called his work “admirable,” like a Pope granting absolution—and the backlash has yet to materialize. “I don’t know anyone else who could have broken through the conservative sound barrier on immigration,” says American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas, a Miami lawyer who gave Rubio his first job as an attorney. “Marco can do left brain, so you get the logic, and he can do right brain, so you feel it in your heart and soul.”

This is Rubio’s first leadership audition, his chance to show Republicans that he’s more than a compelling speaker with boyish good looks, that he’s not just geographically, demographically and ideologically correct. Immigration, he says, is tricky. Though he has evolved on the issue—flip-flopped, if you prefer—he says he’s still not sure he’s got it exactly right. The word he uses most is balance. That was his first thought after he played that voice mail from his mother on his iPhone.

“I have to balance that humanity with reality,” he says. “We have immigration laws. They have to be followed. But yeah, she reminded me that there’s a human element to this as well. As a policymaker, you have to strike a balance.” The result will shape the future of the nation and the dreams of millions of immigrants, not to mention the fate of the GOP and the ambitions of Marco Rubio.

“It’s Complicated”
In his autobiography, An American Son, Rubio says his closest boyhood friend was his cigar-smoking, Fidel Castro–hating grandfather, Pedro Víctor García, a proud Cuban exile who taught him to believe in Reagan, American exceptionalism and himself. Hobbled by childhood polio, more book-smart than business-savvy, Papa never achieved much material success. But he spent hours with his grandson reading Spanish-language newspapers, fulminating about communism and pushing the future Senator to expand his horizons beyond football. “He would scold me for performing poorly in school, but he never let me believe I was incapable of being successful,” Rubio wrote. “His dreams for us were his legacy.”

MORE: Can Marco Rubio Win More Latinos Over to the GOP?

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892 comments
marymary
marymary

when was marco rubio born and were his parents illegal immigrints at the time of his birth? If so he Cannot run for president of the United States.

trefaller
trefaller

Sen Rubio:  If you think the Democrats are going to close the borders, I hav a bridge you can buy>

Acebones
Acebones

All the headlines this week are about Jesse Jackson, Jr.  who should now get a jail cell.   However,  his cell mate should be The "GOP SAVIOR" (as dubbed by Time Magazine) who is ALSO little more than a common crook, just like Jesse Jackson, Jr.    Senator Marco Rubio did the same illegal acts that Jackson did,  with GOP party money which he used for his personal gain for numerous personal expenses including the purchase  of flooring for his personal home.   When GOP Party chairman Jim Greer was caught, and the books were closely examined  ...  Marco Rubio finally fessed up to his actions and reluctantly reimbursed the party.   NOT MUCH OF A SAVIOR he doesn't walk on water .... he slurps and slips on it ... big time.

SharonSigMissel
SharonSigMissel

What a poor choice of a cover.  Rubio tried to stage overturning the violence agaisnt women act.  What  dirtbag and you want to put him on the cover and call him the darling of the Republican party.  I think I'm going to throw up.  Rubio must have practiced his speech about Obama's state of the union, because he commented on things that the president didn't say and he looked foolish doing it.  The guy who got a whole bunch of free stuff and made it to the Prime Time Cover, now thinks we should take it all away from anyone else.  Why don't you pay it forward Mr. Rubio?  Why do you think it's a good idea to block the violence against women act?  No wonder the Republicans lost.

timsored
timsored

Your cover is especially hysterical after hearing Rubio's speech answering Obama's SOTU speech.

He's be lucky to save himself.

Realista
Realista

 It takes more than a drink of water ..... 'To drown a political hack.

Definitely...... Not Ready for Prime Time! Then Marco told Mostly Lies.... 

"how government cannot help people"?      How Did his Illegal Family get to Stay in U. S. ?

U.S. Gov't " Did Not Deport Them"! That's government help!

Marco also got Free education paid by Dade Homeowners. His family Got Refugee Assistance, etc.    In spite of being the Son of An Illegal Immigrant Family, Marco got the "Resident Tuition Rate at FIU University"  and Federal assistance! Without a Dream Act?  

And, there is also the unrepaid $ 94,000 of personal expenses he charged  the Florida Republican Party Amex card while being paid by Florida government as state representative?  Marco has been on government payroll.... Most of His LIFE!

So, Marco government DOES HELP!

ArmandoCepeda
ArmandoCepeda

Rubio is not a savior. He is a republican opportunist who will say whatever it takes to get attention and votes. What was his conservative, Tea Party stance on immigration on November 5, 2012? (The day before the election) It surely wasn't anything like what he's preaching today, was it? Hypocrites, everyone of them. I don't trust republicans. They are mostly made up of greedy, flat-earth society, gun-loving, religious fanatic, intolerant, ignorant, fear/war mongering fools.  Rubio and his GOP cohorts are hoping that we Latinos are too stupid to see through their charade of appeasement. It won't work. Besides, we've got Hillary for 2016 already. 

anzablazer
anzablazer

You people don't even no how much illegals have stolen from American citizen. They stole your children's education. Think of all the money spent on educating illegal. That should have been spent on your American children. That was American taxpayer's money that was for your children. Instead, they got overcrowded classroom, less materials even more book that we didn't need for our children, but for illegals. And, the list can go on. Generations of American children have been cheated out of the higher education that they should have gotten. WE won't even talk identity thief, Gangs, Drugs. There the ones that bring them into America. They are all criminals. Now we know why there's has been and on going dumbing down of American children. That's the real truth. And, your Government new all about it.
 You see when the Illegal drain off all the state education money. The states had to go to the Government for money. That's when thing went south. The Government took over with the Department of Education. Unionize it all and now you pay three times as much for education than you did before.That by the Government own admission it is a failure. Those Mexican students that they want to give amnesty to are the ones you been paying for the last 12 years. So the Government did this and lies about it. And, what do we get we are call racist. They should be thanking us. Another lie is that illegals pay Tax's. They don't pay State Tax and they don't pay Federal Tax's. How could they? That would mean that the Government knew where they were living and did not go and arrest them for being illegal. The only tax's illegals have been paying is State Sales Tax.


 

havanajournal
havanajournal

It is amazing to see how the spin doctors in the republican party have no clue whatsoever about the latino/hispanic electorate and just hope to appeal to it and win votes by putting a latino face and name for them.

Is Mr. Rubio really entitled to talk about the immigrant experience more than anybody else in the republican party ? Absolutely not. Mr. Rubio represents a constituency of "entitled" and "privileged" cubans that come over with an automatic path to citizenship; free room and board upon arrival, financial assistance, free access to Medicaid; and most important the privilege (that no other american citizen has) of traveling freely back to Cuba as often as they desire to run lucrative businesses there that in the end benefit the Castro apparatus there. The Cuban Adjustment Act was supposed to welcome the truly persecuted there. Instead, it has helped create an underclass in Cuba ( the people that have family in the US; and the people that don't) At the same time, it has also made people risk their lives in the ocean, and created a lucrative human trafficking business for the people with families back in Florida. Most importantly, this Act does not discriminate and lets anybody come in as a resident as soon as they set foot here as long as they are Cuban. As seen lately, the same people that have collaborated and worked with the oppressive regime there, are welcome here with no questions asked. So, we are admitting corrupt criminals and people that actually are not political refugees. 

We have to ask Mr. Rubio what he is actually doing about this new class of immigrants which most likely will expand his base. Why is he entitled to question any path to citizenship (currently in proposed in new immigration laws) when his base of cuban-american immigrants (mostly really cuban; not truly anything cuban-american) get to come here and live from entitlements at the expense of all taxpayers?


anzablazer
anzablazer

I'm a third generation Hungarian.  My Grand parents came through Ellis Island.  My father was in the Korean War.And I'm a Vietnam Vet. My family earn the right to be Americans. We didn't steal it. And theirs lots more people just like me that live in this country.What you people are turning this country into your not going to like. It is almost to late to turn aside.

ADRIANMONK101
ADRIANMONK101

BEWARE MARCO!  TIME is trying to destroy the GOP again!  The election just ended but the Liberal Attack Machine is gearing to up to get YOU before 2016! Liberals do only one thing well - demonize their opponents. Instead of my words, let me use the words of a Liberal Democrat Feminist from Brooklyn once said to me when I asked her about this: "In politics, you rape, pillage and plunder - that is how the game is played."  


glamavon
glamavon

The cover should have had had a question mark after the words "The Republican Savior" because it'll take more than a few token charismatic young faces of color to cures what ailes GOP.  Apparently the GOP did not fully understand the lesson of putting Sarah Palin on the ticket with John McCain in 2008.  The less was that you need more than a pretty face, you need substance.  In this case, substance comes in the form real policy changes, a real willingness to work with the Democrats, and the realization that America is no longer a country of old cranky white guys.  While Senator Rubio, Governors Bobby Jindal and Susanna Martinez show some real promise, the real question is whether or not Reince Prince and the GOP are paying attention.  Until then, its merely window dressing.

FrankMonroy
FrankMonroy

Your hyperbolic cover ignores several points:

1. Rubio has lied about his and his parents entry into the United States, maintaing that they were Castro refugees until they were caught lying.

2. The right wing wet-footer Cubans are loathed by the 74% Hispanics most of who are Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans. They will not support this mafioso over one inevitable immigration reform. Hispanics are outraged by the largest single Group Welkfare program in US history for those who fled rather than fight for their country. Had all of our founders done likewise, we would all be speaking proper English now. Those Guzanos who fled Cuba, looted the Cuban Treasury on their way out and brought millions in cash and gold to the US after which they were given thousands just for being refugees,

3. Rubio's ties with the Calle Ocho drug Mafia will be exposed.

Republicans have been manipulating self-hating minorities for fifty years with no luck.

Ted Cruz was a 2010 one-off which will be corrected in five years.

marcelosalup
marcelosalup

1. Shady dealings with the RNC credit card

2. Lied about how his parents came into the US to get visibility, votes and "street creds" as a refugee

3. Sold his soul to the tea baggers to get visibility and votes

4. Is against every program that allowed Latinos, especially Cubans, to forge ahead in the US

5. Won't even take a stand as to whether or not the world was made in 6 days for fear that the fundamentalist religious right will yank his chain.

Rubio doesn't have the strength of character, the moral fortitude or the stature to be our president ever.

JorgeH
JorgeH

Right on "no savior" .... No immigrant either .... misrepresentation is all he is!·

The appropriate and humane comment is that this fake did not and does not have the "power" to impede such fallacy filled, schizophrenic minded and ego ballooning events not be associated to his reality. For in the realm of his intellect, has nothing of Hispanic or latino ... he is endemically Cuban! Cuban who left the Island prior to but not specifically in response to Castro's overpowering the government! They never returned due to that fact but did no leave because of it , ‘cause at the time of the Family Rubio departure Castro was on an government opposition entity. The Rubio’s benefitted in Cuba from Distator Fulgencio Batista Regimen, reason why they would have returned but did nod not, as the events overlapped the Revolution causing Castro’s ascent to power.The Rubio’s are not and have never entrenched the latino/Hispanic heritage. That is the impression we hispanics received based on the data this family has published about themselves. These are members of the (white) Cubans who in the most part have always seen the USA/Cuba realation as their source of wealth. They are part of the Habana-Miami culture which date to many decades prior to Castro being born. Rubio's surname says it all to the true latino. he is "rubio or rubito"! This Time magazine acrobacy is only that, an acrobacy! It has no historical background to support it! They have placed a total ghost in the front page! This a downgrading for all who have ever appeared in this page and a shame to Time for it is giving a impression to many that an individual in specific may be of more significance than a bum to the history of the Nation! Marco Polo will soon take off on his journey around the globe in a k-jack and disappear in the horizon.....I intentionally sidelined to comment on the use of the word “savior” .... My God! What a sacrilege not to write heresy!

mrivera1119
mrivera1119

To NurseSnow and PiknyLee, a question: are you ladies (or gentlemen) really writers for Comedy Central? Although Pinky Lee sounds suspiciously like Glenn Beck.

rolandsanchez
rolandsanchez

Ribio is what the mexicans use to call a VENDIDO because he sold his self to the white,protestent,republicans. He is also tainted with the ROMANY-RYAN gang. 

PeterBobClampett
PeterBobClampett

if Rubio is the great Hispanic hope of the GOP then they have no hope. 

max.schneiter
max.schneiter

LOL, if skewed polls by biased pollsters counts as "actual data" in your world I have some beautiful ocean-front property in Arizona that I am sure you would be very interested in, sucker

MarisolFMarquez
MarisolFMarquez

That's odd that you can cite what his mom said on a certain day and time. Do you have the phone bugged? Don't mess with the immigrants? When you start your article that way, it automatically tells me that this article is slanted against Rubio.

ffnov22
ffnov22

JURISDICTION...sorry...

ffnov22
ffnov22

All of you need to read the 14th Amendment. It clearly states that anyone born or naturalized in the US AND IS SUBJECT TO THE JUSISDICTION THEREOF is a citizen. illegals are NOT UNDER U.S. JURISDICTION. They are ILLEGAL and are FOREIGNERS subject to THEIR country. The Founding Fathers DID NOT write 'anyone who comes to the United States is automatically a citizen, and if their child is born here they are a citizen too.' Interpretaion of my Constitution by marxists, mexicans or deranged democrat judges does not change the law. If you do not know the Amendment please shut up.

rkenn87
rkenn87

It's not fair that the immigrants who go through the process legally are essentially being punished for following the law.  Amnesty says to people, "If you break the law, you'll get a much better deal and you won't even have to pay taxes."  Not to mention, if we don't enforce our borders, then we have no control over violent criminals and drug smugglers entering our country.  It's not a coincidence that states with high percentages of illegal immigrants have high crime rates.

RobertFallin
RobertFallin

As long as Rubio has his nose buried in Israel's backside he is not going anywhere.  Israel is NOT the "51st state" and the majority are fed up with politicians who oppress U.S. citizens and bankrupt the country to follow a foreign policy that could have been written by Benjamin Netanyahu

MendyHartsook
MendyHartsook

I never quite understood that if you can pay a coyote $3000 to smuggle you in, why can't you go through immigration and do it the legal way? If you can pay to cross the border, aren't you doing fine? It seems greedy.

JFKdemocrat
JFKdemocrat

Anyone born in the US can declare citizenship when they become and adult. If Rubio can't be President, then get that fool in office today out and all his policies that are crushing the middle class.

garytheobserver
garytheobserver

That he is a Latino is irrelevant. He is a Tea Party Conservative and that is why he has my support (along with Ted Cruz in Texas). Yes, it is WRONG that illegals are treated poorly by employers. Then again if most of those employers had to pay and cost account them as if they were Americans then they wouldn't hire them. This is a country where many have sacrificed their blood and lives for. We do not need to hand over the "keys" to those whose only accomplishement is sneeking in or overstaying a visa. My wife is Hispanic. Both of my children were born here and are half Latino. We even aquired dual-citizenship for them. (It is MUCH harder to get citizenship in Mexico than it is here). I know something about this... so does my wife. WE DID THINGS THE LEGAL WAY. I expect every immigrant to come and stay legally.       Let's double or triple LEGAL immigration. But an immigrant would face "a wheel". The wheel would be spun and wherever it landed, that is where they will be REQUIRED to live for a min of 3 years. That might be Minot, ND, Ada, OK, Paoli, IN, etc. This will spread the population out and help to insure assimilation. They must not have so much as a bounced check in that time or zippp.... right back to their homeland.

Dale
Dale

Not a chance in hell. This guy will not get conservative votes or take democrat votes. Only the Rhino's and the Media think he is a viable candidate. Karl Rove will vote for this guy real Conservatives will not.

ffnov22
ffnov22

Rubios parents were not citizens when they landed in the United States. They were, like many usurpers-- living off the fat of the land. Rubio was born in 1972. His parents weren't even nationalized until 1975. So technically he should not be permitted to run. He is a non-American spanish speaking cuban lover and embracer of all things 'hispanic.' Disastrous.

twrd1
twrd1

Mr. Rubio, I think you are an honest American. I believe you have the people first in your agenda, and not this crazy good for nothing government. I believe you are a patriot, and I believe you will help restore a constitutional government. I am over 50, and a veteran of our military. I am a hard working anglo saxon who pays his taxes, and believes in our constitution. I supported you in the past, and would be honored to have you as our next president sir.

t.

MacaroniJones
MacaroniJones

If Time is endorsing him, then you know he doesn't belong in the Republican party.

ffnov22
ffnov22

If I hear ANY more sob stories about 'hispanics' I am going to VOMIT. They all have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. Like THEIR culture is special...NOT. If they think their language, culture and countries of origin are so great, please get out. We Americans are not interested in THAT culture.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

Even in Florida the fascist Cuban influence is waining.  It won't float (joke).   

PinkyLee
PinkyLee

Romney. Now Rubio. The republicans are truly suicidal!

doughnutgrease
doughnutgrease

It is laughable how you say bipartisan compromise is not his thing. as if dear leader (Obama for you liberals) is the paragon of getting along with the political opposition.  Remember when he told Boehner "I get that for free ($800 B in new revenue). As far as immigration goes, why do we have varying laws based on the point of origin of the immigrant?  Is this the new 'equality'? 

spiritof1973
spiritof1973

Michael Grunwald thinks being for a limited constitutional government, as Reagan was, is "antigovernment." Hilarious!

reallife
reallife

You don't have to be hispanic to win hispanics' votes. Reagan and Bush won them handily. You have to be a true conservative. We'll see what Marco Rubio is. 


AlHaus
AlHaus

All leftists are brainwashed sheep. They are destroying freedom and our nation. These sheep come on here and spew their propagandists BS like the trolls they are.

Obama is a complete success. He is destroying the nation just like his handler's have ordered him to do. And all you left wing sheep fall for the bread and circuses like the fools you are.

No facts posted here? They always fall on silent ears to the left wing sheep. All they do is insult and name call in response to any facts posted anyway. Its the only way they have to support their "argument." So why argue with idiots using facts?

So say whatever you want to my post you libtards. You are a bunch of suckers. You are destroying this nation. GFY!

RickFernandez
RickFernandez

Rubio is one of us Cuban-American like my daughter very smart, were born in Miami and they are very aggressive and to the point totally bilingual can switch from one language to the other in a second. They are great debaters I always lose with my daughter. While giving a presentation they do not need translators they always do their own translation to be sure that there is no misunderstanding.

The next generation, my grandson is even better always in the “Honor Role” in school. Debate!! What debate? He always wins big time. This country will be honored by having one of them as President. And trust me, we need them.

apinelli651
apinelli651

ANOTHER DUMB ASS SOCIALIST DEMOCRAT WHO'S FULL OF SHIT AS SHOULD BE EXPECTED!

lindquist
lindquist

Another neocon. 

How is he the "savior" of the republican party when he exemplifies it's current establishment archetype? 

This is clearly bought and paid for.

Paul/Cruz 2016

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

Gee, if he looks like a token to an old white guy like me, I wonder what he looks like to other Hispanics? Minorities aren't sensitive to that kind of thing, are they? Please continue, Senator.

mrivera1119
mrivera1119

Dear Mr. Rubio: Take some advice from this old Hispanic lady that has lived a lot more than you. In general, we Hispanics don't approve of you. The reason is simple: you are not sincere. You are playing a transparent political game that reeks of opportunism. I don't have and never had immigration problems. Some of us  have been here for centuries, eventhough the general Republican view is that we crossed some border only yesterday. I think  that this and every other political issue should be approached with respect and responsibility, not to be used as a  simple means to an end. Finally, a word of caution: do not let your hatred for President Obama let you start making empty accusations and saying  things you might regret. He is a good man. If you do, you risk becoming a second Jindal.  That would be music to my ears, but I really hate to see anyone disregard honor and dignity for a simple political gamble. Forget Sancho,  follow Don Quixote. He is not only remembered for fighting windmills but for  pursuing justice and reaching for the stars.

trefaller
trefaller

+

Rubio. If Obama,durbin,pelosi, and schumer are for it , it is a lie.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

I urge the GeeOhPee to go with Rubio, the fascist Cuban, because it is a dead end in reaching the real "hispanics" in America, the Mexican-Americans.  The amnesty privileged Cubans can't really relate to the issue.  They live in another world and mind set.  No clue.   

dankwax_com
dankwax_com

I love it that the Repugchickens savior is a guy who went to college for a long time, worked in the "Real World" for about two years, then became a career politician... He's Soooo different than Obama. HAHAHAHA!