Telemundo Anchor Pleads with Rubio to Keep DACA in Place for Illegal Immigrants If Elected President

Telemundo anchor Maria Celeste Arraras made her debut in Thursday’s CNN Republican Presidential Debate by not surprisingly touting the liberal line on illegal immigration by pleading with Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fl.) to keep President Barack Obama’s executive action on young illegal immigrants (known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA). 

In response, Rubio slammed Arraras’s questioning and pointed out that despite whatever emotional pull people may feel for illegals who came to the U.S. through no fault of their own, it shouldn’t usurp the reality that its unconstitutional. 

(Later, she demanded: “Why does Mexico need a wall and Canada doesn’t? Isn’t that like closing the front door and leaving the back door open?”)

The Noticiero Telemundo co-anchor began by remarking to Rubio that he recently stated “that on your first day in office, you will get rid of President Obama's executive action, known as deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA for short.”

She continued by lamenting that DACA “has protected hundreds of thousands of young people that came here when they were children, brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants” so it would be unfair for Rubio to cancel an executive order that allows them to stay in “the only home they know.” 

Upon her attempt to argue that Rubio’s current position is different from one he took in a Spanish-language interview in April 2015, Rubio fired back:

It will have to end at some moment, and as I said, we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it and new applicants will now be allowed to apply to it and it's not because we're not compassionate to the plight of someone who came here when they were two years old. We understand. I know people who are personally impacted by this. The problem with the executive order is it is unconstitutional. The President doesn't have the power to do that and he himself admitted that.

Tell the Truth 2016

Arraras eventually interjected to push back, but Rubio was not having any of it and excoriated the left’s obsession with characterizing any position on illegal immigration that’s against amnesty as pure deportation:

Everybody always goes immediately to the issue of deportation. This is about DACA. DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire and new people will not be able to apply them. I am sympathetic to the plight of people who came here when they were 2 or 3 years old through no fault of their own. No matter how sympathetic we may be to a cause, we can not violate the Constitution of the United States the way this President now does on a regular basis. 

Later in the debate, she saw an inconsistency in wanting a wall on the Mexican border but not along the Candien border: “Mr. Trump, you have been very vocal about securing the Mexican border, but ISIS has called upon its supporters to conduct attacks in our neighbor to the north, Canada. As a matter of fact, U.S. officials have warned that it is the Canadian border which is the most significant threat. You have said that you will not build a wall in Canada. When it comes to national security and the threat of terrorism, why does Mexico need a wall and Canada doesn’t? Isn’t that like closing the front door and leaving the back door open?”

The relevant portion of the transcript from the CNN Republican Presidential Debate on February 25 can be found below. 

CNN Republican Presidential Debate
February 25, 2016
9:06 p.m. Eastern

MARIA CELESTE ARRARAS: Senator Rubio, last week you said that on your first day in office, you will get rid of President Obama's executive action, known as deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA for short. It is a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young people that came here when they were children, brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants. This is the only home they know and that is a dramatic change from last April, when you said in Spanish, and I'm going to quote you [IN SPANISH]: “DACA tiene que terminar en unico momento no seria justo cancelarlo inmediatamente” Which translates to, DACA is going to have to end at some point, but it wouldn't be fair to cancel it immediately.” So Senator Rubio, what changed? 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (Fl.): It didn't change. 

ARRARAS: Why is it now fair to cancel it on day one? 

RUBIO: No, it's the same policy. It will have to end at some moment, and as I said, we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it and new applicants will now be allowed to apply to it and it's not because we're not compassionate to the plight of someone who came here when they were two years old. We understand. I know people who are personally impacted by this. The problem with the executive order is it is unconstitutional. The President doesn't have the power to do that and he himself admitted that. 

ARRARAS: Senator, senator —

RUBIO: I'm sorry, but —

ARRARAS: But you went from saying that it was deeply disruptive to deport them immediately to deport them on day one. 

RUBIO: No, but this is not about deportation. Everybody always goes immediately to the issue of deportation. This is about DACA. DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire and new people will not be able to apply them. I am sympathetic to the plight of people who came here when they were 2 or 3 years old through no fault of their own. No matter how sympathetic we may be to a cause, we can not violate the Constitution of the United States the way this President now does on a regular basis. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center