Three left-wing self-described Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) activists, from the organization “GetEQUAL,” staged a sit-in in the Tampa office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), demanding even more radical immigration reforms than those he has championed as a member of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.”
According to a release by the group, the three activists were protesting in Rubio’s district office “calling for an end to his dangerous moves to radically increase border security in the Senate immigration bill and for an end to his obstruction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
Rubio’s staff called the police, and officers came to escort them away. The group said in its press release that a Rubio staffer recommended to police that they deport one of the three activists because he is here in the United States illegally.
“As these activists were being led away from Sen. Rubio’s office for drawing attention to these regressive views and to call on Sen. Rubio to ‘evolve’ his views on immigration and employment discrimination, a Rubio staffer told the police officers in the room that one of the people in the room–GetEQUAL Co-Director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez–‘is here illegally,'” the press release reads.
At that point, the organization wrote that despite “the officer proceeded to ask Felipe whether he has papers, and asked to see his drivers license.”
“Felipe is undocumented, sent to the U.S. by his mother in Brazil,” the organization noted in its release about his status in the U.S. “He has a work permit under the Obama Administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (or DACA). He is also a DREAMer–the name given to young people brought or sent to the U.S. by family members to escape poverty and seek a better life.”
Sousa-Rodriguez said that despite his work on the “Gang of Eight,” Rubio is still “anti-immigrant.”
“It’s no wonder Senator Rubio embraced the ‘Border Surge’ amendment in the Senate yesterday, which will destroy border towns and immigrant families–his staff are doing exactly the same thing in their own office,” Sousa-Rodriguez said. “The idea that Senator Rubio is taking immigration reform seriously is a joke–even his staff is engaged in profiling immigrants and deporting as many people as possible. Rubio is not just anti-LGBT, but he’s also anti-immigrant.”
The activists were calling on Rubio to abandon any border security provisions in the Senate immigration bill and pushing him to support gay marriage for illegal aliens, something Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) has advocated but that Rubio said would undermine the bill.
“I took action today because we need equality for all,” Rev. Barb Lawrence, one of the three LGBT activists involved with the sit-in, said in the press release. “We need to stand up and take action against the bigotry of our political leaders.”
In a followup exchange with Breitbart News, Sousa-Rodriguez said he does not appreciate anything Rubio did for immigration reform.
“Senator Rubio is out of step with voters in the United States, 70% of Americans voters support protections for LGBT workers against discrimination in the workplace and 67% of voters support the inclusion of same-sex couples in immigration reform,” Sousa-Rodriguez said in an email.
“Senator Rubio has threaten[ed] several times to walk away from the bill he co-authored unless he could [add] harsh enforcement into the immigration bill. Today was another clear sign of his true motivations. They told the police my status in order to harm me personally. Senator Rubio is anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT.”
Sousa-Rodriguez added that his perception is the immigrant community still does not believe Rubio is working in their best interests, and that he does not deserve any credit for anything the immigrant community perceives as good coming out of this bill.
“My number one priority is to defend my community,” Sousa-Rodriguez said. “Senator Rubio has shown his true colors today when his office tried to silence the voices of the majority of Floridians that are calling for a meaningful immigration reform and the end of employment discrimination.”