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Friday, June 17, 2011

Rubio's Maiden Speech

In his maiden speech on the Senate floor on June 14, Marco Rubio (R-Florida) discussed two themes from his campaign: American exceptionalism and immigration:

"America began from a powerful truth," he said, "that our rights as individuals do not come from our government. They come from our God." That line recalled a passage from JFK's inaugural: And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe-the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

Politico reports that Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) criticized the speech:

Gutierrez has heard Rubio give variations of that speech before, and he agrees with the message. But he's baffled why the young senator continues to back tough immigration policies while opposing the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legalization for young illegal immigrants who go to college or join the military.

"[Here's] a man whose family has benefitted, who's here because of the generosity of our immigration system, the welcoming of our immigration system," said Gutierrez, who’s embarked on a nationwide tour promoting the DREAM Act. "So I just think that's a darn shame."

Rubio's office offered a defense of his immigration policies.

"Senator Rubio is doing what seems to be a novel idea to some in Washington: he’s firmly upholding the campaign promises he made to Floridians," Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said in a statement. "Whether it was in town halls or even a Univision debate, as a candidate, Senator Rubio repeatedly and consistently stressed border security and E-Verify would be his immediate priorities to ensure that America is not the only nation on earth that doesn’t enforce its immigration laws.