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.



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


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

Rubio Press Shop Release-


In addition to enhancing technology andfencing at the border, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity andImmigration Modernization Act of 2013” includes a provision to give ruralresidents and business owners near the Mexican border access to cell serviceand phones so they can quickly report border violence to the police and theDepartment of Homeland Security. This provision was included inthe “Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011”, in response to the case of Robert Krentz, an Arizonarancher who was murdered on his property and did not have the ability to communicatedirectly with law enforcement because of his rural location. Givingpeople living and working on the Mexican border the ability to communicatedirectly with law enforcement is important to securing our border.

Rubio on the Laura Ingraham Show-


 Ingraham: “That’s alright. Eligibility for grants, because in 844pages, 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 yeargrant program to receive a cellular phone. And articles this morning, as youcan imagine, are fairly amusing. ‘Move over Obama phone, this is the amnestyphone.’ What’s going on with that?”


 Rubio: “That’s false. That’s notfor the illegal immigrants. That’s for U.S. citizens and residents who live inthe border region so that they can have access to calls. One of theircomplaints – that’s actually part of the Kyl border bill that we adopted. Andwhat it does is it provides communication equipment to people who are living inthe border region so they can report illegal crossings because many of themeither don’t have phone service or don’t have cell phone service and they haveno way of calling.”


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


 Rubio: “Well again, that’s part of a border security package. That all ofwhich is paid for by the fees and fines we are charging as part of thisprogram. That is actually aborder security measure that we have adopted and it’s involved to help ruralcitizens who live along the border that have access to communication equipmentso they can call police and they can report border violence. Because one ofthe complaints we got from the border region is they don’t have any way tocommunicate with police or border patrol in time if they see somethinghappening on the border. So this is designed to help in that regard. It’s notsome effort to provide phone service to anybody.”

Listen to the interview here (8:10)




The Secretary, in consultation with thegovernors of the States in the Southwest Border region, shall establish a2-year grant program, to be administered by the Secretary, to improve emergencycommunications in the Southwest

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




FACT:  Section 1107 in the “BorderSecurity, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” doesnot specify that these phones are “for U.S. citizens and residents who live inthe border region” or “who are living in the border region” as Senator Rubiostates twice. But that “ Anindividual is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if theindividual demonstrates that he or she– (A) regularly resides or works in theSouthwest Border region…”   


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


FACT:Section 1107 does not specify that only rural residents or business owners willhave 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  thatshop states that this bill is “Giving people living and working on theMexican borderthe ability to communicate directly with law enforcement isimportant to securing our border.” (see Rubio Press Shop statement above)


Here is what we said-


According to the newly filed bill, immigrantswho 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, anyoneresiding along the “Mexican border” is eligible for the “MarcoPhone.” Thiswould mean everyone could, include illegal immigrants, who are renting a homeor apartment along the border. Any individual an easily prove they live wherethey say they live by simply furnishing  a utility bill and some form ofidentification, regardless of their immigration status. 


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

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


I praise my friend Marco for putting forththis effort to reform a badly broken immigration system, and while I agree withhim on just about all of his immigration principles and triggers, I wouldsuggest to Rubio & Company  to introduce an amendment that willaddress all of these “Facts” and questions, so that U.S. citizens will knowexactly who is eligible for these phones. In addition, perhaps inserting astart date to establish residency would also help with the clarificationprocess.


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