The Conversation

Rubio's Myths vs. Facts Behind the MarcoPhone

In lieu of Senator Marco Rubio's response to the "MarcoPhone" Shark Tank story I cross-posted here on Breitbart, I have laid out what Rubio said in regards to the who will receive the phones, and what is actually written in the bill.

 

RUBIO’S MYTHS vs. FACT: THE PERILS OF PEDDLING AN  IMMIGRATION BILL WITHOUT BEING SPECIFICS

Rubio and his press shop rush to spin a loophole in the immigration bill

 

MYTH: Just about everything Senator Marco Rubio and his Press shop said in response to the initial “MarcoPhone” story stating  that his new immigration bill would give free cell phones to immigrants with work visas.

Rubio Press Shop Release-

 

In addition to enhancing technology and fencing at the border, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” includes a provision to give rural residents and business owners near the Mexican border access to cell service and phones so they can quickly report border violence to the police and the Department of Homeland Security. This provision was included in the “Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011”, in response to the case of Robert Krentz, an Arizona rancher who was murdered on his property and did not have the ability to communicate directly with law enforcement because of his rural location. Giving people living and working on the Mexican border the ability to communicate directly with law enforcement is important to securing our border.

Rubio on the Laura Ingraham Show-

 

 Ingraham: “That’s alright. Eligibility for grants, because in 844 pages, as you can imagine, there’s quite a lot of interesting nuggets in here. You actually can be eligible for a grant for a phone, it looks like. A two year grant program to receive a cellular phone. And articles this morning, as you can imagine, are fairly amusing. ‘Move over Obama phone, this is the amnesty phone.’ What’s going on with that?”

 

 Rubio: “That’s false. That’s not for the illegal immigrants. That’s for U.S. citizens and residents who live in the border region so that they can have access to calls. One of their complaints – that’s actually part of the Kyl border bill that we adopted. And what it does is it provides communication equipment to people who are living in the border region so they can report illegal crossings because many of them either don’t have phone service or don’t have cell phone service and they have no way of calling.”

 

 Ingraham: “I know it’s not for the illegal immigrants, but it’s an outlay of money, is it not?”

 

 Rubio: “Well again, that’s part of a border security package. That all of which is paid for by the fees and fines we are charging as part of this program. That is actually a border security measure that we have adopted and it’s involved to help rural citizens who live along the border that have access to communication equipment so they can call police and they can report border violence. Because one of the complaints we got from the border region is they don’t have any way to communicate with police or border patrol in time if they see something happening on the border. So this is designed to help in that regard. It’s not some effort to provide phone service to anybody.”

Listen to the interview here (8:10)


SECTION 1107 OF THE IMMIGRATION BILL

 

SEC. 1107. ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PERSONNEL. (a) SOUTHWEST BORDER REGION EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS GRANTS.—

The Secretary, in consultation with the governors of the States in the Southwest Border region, shall establish a 2-year grant program, to be administered by the Secretary, to improve emergency communications in the Southwest

ELIGIBILITY FOR GRANTS.—An individual  is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the individual demonstrates that he or she— (A) regularly resides or works in the Southwest Border region;  is at greater risk of border violence due to the lack of cellular service at his or her residence or business and his or her proximity to the Southern border. (3) USE OF GRANTS.—Grants awarded under  this subsection may be used to purchase satellite  telephone communications systems and service  that— (A) can provide access to 9–1–1 service; and  (B) are equipped with global positioning

 

THE FACTS

 

FACT:  Section 1107 in the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” does not specify that these phones are “for U.S. citizens and residents who live in the border region” or “who are living in the border region” as Senator Rubio states twice. But that “ An individual is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the individual demonstrates that he or she— (A) regularly resides or works in the Southwest Border region…”   

 

FACT: Section 1107 does not stipulate that the “Kyl border bill” was adopted in this new bill, as Rubio points out. (Are we suppose to read Rubio’s mind, or guess that it was?)

 

FACT: Section 1107 does not specify that only rural residents or business owners will have access to these phones, as Rubio’s Press Shop contends, or the “rural citizens” that Rubio himself calls them. The bill states that only individuals  that “regularly reside or work” in the region are eligible. Again, Rubio’s own press shop states that this bill is “Giving people living and working on the Mexican borderthe ability to communicate directly with law enforcement is important to securing our border.” (see Rubio Press Shop statement above)

 

Here is what we said-

 

According to the newly filed bill, immigrants who are allowed to enter the United States under a work visa, will be ‘granted’ a taxpayer funded cellular phone. Move over “Obama phone,” we present the new ‘Hola, Como Estas?!’ MarcoPhone.-Shark Tank

 

According to Rubio and his Press shop, anyone residing along the “Mexican border” is eligible for the “MarcoPhone.” This would mean everyone could, include illegal immigrants, who are renting a home or apartment along the border. Any individual an easily prove they live where they say they live by simply furnishing  a utility bill and some form of identification, regardless of their immigration status. 

 

So, technically, it is quite possible that these illegal “aliens,”  who crossed over the border illegally and reside along the border, and those who are planning on crossing over illegally and become potential U.S. border residents in the U.S., will have the opportunity to apply for a legal work visa that would make  them eligible to receive the ‘MarcoPhone.’ Rubio’s immigration bill refers to immigrants as “aliens,” in case anyone was wondering why used the term illegal “aliens.”


As far as paying for these phones, Rubio says that its part of a “border security package,”and not taxpayer funded. Rubio then adds “That all (phones) of which is paid for by the fees and fines we are charging as part of this program.”  It is safe to assume that Rubio is referring to the penalization of those illegal aliens who applied for the immigrant work visas, but he does not say whether the phones are distribute before or after the “fees and fines” are collected. If the phones are distributed before fines are collected, then isn’t it also safe to assume also that taxpayer’s initially paid for the phones?

 

I praise my friend Marco for putting forth this effort to reform a badly broken immigration system, and while I agree with him on just about all of his immigration principles and triggers, I would suggest to Rubio & Company  to introduce an amendment that will address all of these “Facts” and questions, so that U.S. citizens will know exactly who is eligible for these phones. In addition, perhaps inserting a start date to establish residency would also help with the clarification process.




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