Rubio’s Not So Compelling Family History

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

It’s time once again for a history lesson, coming to you courtesy of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida). The questions are: when did Fidel Castro come to power and when did Rubio’s parents come to America? According to Rubio’s official bio, his parents “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover” of Cuba. Rubio used that compelling story to shape his political persona. Rubio would tell audiences that he was the “son of exiles” who fled their beloved homeland after “a thug” took power.

Documents, including naturalization papers and other official records, show that Rubio’s parents arrived in the United States on May 27, 1956, more than two-and-a-half years before Castro came to power in early January, 1959.

What does a politician do when his carefully crafted political persona is in jeopardy? He throws his parents under the bus by claiming that he’s “going off the oral history of my family.” It was his family members that misled him. However true, it’s not a classy way to treat your parents.

It now appears that Rubio’s parents choose to immigrate to the United States for a better life, not because they were fleeing persecution or tyranny. Boring!

Here’s the ironic part: Rubio was born in 1971, but his parents didn’t become citizens until 1975. According to birthers, Rubio is not a natural born citizen and not qualified to be President or Vice President. It has been argued that:

A natural born Citizen of the United States is one born in the United States to two U.S. Citizens who were Citizens of the United States either by birth or naturalization at the time of the birth of the child.

According to birther logic, Rubio was born with dual allegiances. Has the responsible gene for that affliction been found?

H/T: Kevin Drum, Stephanie Mencimer, Steve Benen, Steve Benen, WaPo.

23 thoughts on “Rubio’s Not So Compelling Family History”

  1. More inconsistencies found in Rubio’s family story:
    Rubio Tries To Clarify How His Family Left Cuba

    GOP rising star Sen. Marco Rubio caught heat last week for his Senate bio that misstated when his family left Cuba for the U.S., a detail of some relevance in his home state of Florida. But in explaining his side of the story in a Politico op-ed, Rubio laid out a narrative dramatically different from the one he provided to NPR in late 2009.

    MICHELE NORRIS, host: We have an update now to a story we aired Friday about Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. We interviewed a Washington Post reporter who contends that Rubio’s parents did not flee Cuba after Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959. That’s the family story long told by the senator and his official website. In fact, Rubio’s parents immigrated for Cuba several years before the Cuban Revolution.

    But a statement Rubio issued recently to clarify that family story is raising still more questions, as NPR’s David Welna reports.

    DAVID WELNA: The same day The Washington Post reported that Senator Marco Rubio’s parents left Cuba for Miami in 1956, the second sentence in the senator’s bio on his official Senate website got changed. No longer did it claim his parents had come to the U.S., quote, “following Fidel Castro’s takeover on the first day of 1959.” That sentence now says Rubio was, quote, “born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban exiles who first arrived in the United States in 1956.”

    That may put the claims made in Rubio’s first TV ad during his run for the Senate last year in a different light.

    Senator MARCO RUBIO: My parents lost everything – their home, family, friends, even their country. But they found something too, America…

    WELNA: Despite their departure, well before the Cuban Revolution, Rubio still seems to insist his parents were forced into exile. A new statement from him on his website, also published by Politico, is titled “My Family’s Flight from Castro.” In that statement, Rubio says his parents decided they wanted to try moving back to Cuba after Castro came to power. He says that in 1961, his mother went there with his older siblings, quote, “with the intention of moving back.”

    But nearly two yeas ago, when Rubio was still running for the Senate seat he now holds, he gave ALL THINGS CONSIDERED host Robert Siegel a very different account of why his mother went back to Cuba with her children.

    RUBIO: My grandfather, who was already had been stricken with polio when he was a young man, had an accident – he was hit by a bus. And in Cuba at the time, I mean, when you were in the hospital they didn’t have like, you know, meals or anything. Your family had to bring the food and they had to take care of you. So, my mom went back with my sister and my brother to take care of her father in 1960. And my dad stayed behind, working.

    WELNA: Social Security records indicate that Rubio’s mother’s father had, in fact, emigrated to the U.S., the same year his parents left Cuba. Rubio’s office confirmed today that her father did go to the U.S. in 1956, but then returned to Cuba where he was, quote, “involved in an accident.”

    There are other apparent discrepancies in Rubio’s statement posted on his website. He says that after a few weeks in Cuba it became clear to his mother that, quote, “the change happening in Cuba was not for the better, it was communism,” which is why his mother decided in March of 1961 to return permanently to the United States with his siblings. Again, that’s at odds with what Rubio told Robert Siegel two years ago.

  2. martingugino
    1, October 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    Is someone arguing that Rubio is undocumented?
    No – no one here is stating anything of the sort. Under the US constitution and law, he was born in the US and is thus a citizen (and also eligible to be President.)

    One issue being discussed here is that some members of the “birther” movement have attempted to re-define the qualifications to be a citizen and/or president to try to invalidate President Obama’s election. Under their made-up definition, because Rubio’s parents weren’t naturalized at the time of his birth, they would disqualify him from being president. That goes against the main understanding of the US Constitution.

    A different issue is that Marco Rubio was just caught mis-representing his family’s story for his own political ends. Like many immigrants to the US, his parents came here for freedom and economic opportunity, just like all my immigrant ancestors. I, for one, welcome these immigrants, who work hard and make America better.

    But Rubio is a Republican, and that party has decided to vilify Hispanic immigrants – with the exception of Cubans who fled Castro’s victory in the revolution. Well, it turns out that the family Republican, Cuban-American politician Marco Rubio is just like millions of Mexican-American families, and Guatemalan-American families, and Bolivian-American families. Economic immigrants, not in the special-status group of “victims of the terrible Communist Castro regime.”

    So the problems are:
    1) “birthers” are just nasty racists who make up rules to suit their own hallucinations.
    2) The Republican party needs to stop making out Hispanic immigrants as being somehow bad, while catering to the right-wing, anti-Castro, EuroCuban-American political groups.

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