Senator Marco Rubio

Keynote Speech at Hispanic Leadership Conference in Miami

Friday, January 27, 2012

 

Unas palabras en español brevemente. Muchísimas gracias por esta oportunidad en este momento tan clave en la historia de este país. Un país que tiene que escoger en este momento una dirección económica que en mi opinión tiene que ser muy distinta a la dirección que esta administración nos lleva.

Lo que ha hecho este país grande es la libre empresa. La habilidad de personas de venir de todas partes del mundo, y de seguir sus sueños económicos y familiares. De poder ir hacia delante y dejar sus hijos en mejor posición de donde empezaron ellos.

Eso nos hace único como país, y tengo el miedo que lo vamos a perder, que la dirección que nos lleva este presidente es una dirección que nos va a robar de algo que nos hace especial y distinto al resto del mundo.

Así que estas elecciones van a ser claves y bien importantes, y no hay comunidad en este país que entienda mejor esa realidad económica, que entienda mejor ese sueño americano que la nuestra.

Y es por eso que pienso que la comunidad latina e hispana en este país se debe desempeñar al nivel político de todas maneras posibles. Y les agradezco a todos que han organizado este evento, y que están aquí en el día de hoy, para no solamente escuchar mis palabras, sino las palabras de los candidatos republicanos y de otros invitados y distinguidos que van a estar aquí hoy con nosotros. Muchísimas gracias.

 

To those that don’t speak Spanish, I apologize. I was basically describing how I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.

So thank you for choosing Miami. It’s a great place to do political things. It’s a very exciting and vibrant place to do politics.

On my way in today I got a text from a friend who said that someone is flying a plane over the building with a banner that says “Marco, No Somos Rubio,” which means “Marco, We’re Not Blonde.” Which, by coincidence nether am I.  So, although if I’m in the Senate for another year I may start being a little bit more grey.

But anyway, thank you for choosing this place and for being a part of this and giving us the opportunity to speak at this key moment in our nation’s history.

I want to begin. Obviously, when people talk about Americans of Hispanic descent the first issue that comes to mind is immigration, and rightfully so. Because for people in our community the issue of immigration is not a theoretical one, it’s not an issue of statistics, it’s not always even an issue of law and order. It’s an issue of their lives, and of the people that they love.

Whether you came here from another country yourself, whether your parents did, or whether you’ve been here generations, there is no one in the community of Hispanic Americans who do not love someone who has found themselves in limbo or in a situation. No one, it’s impossible to walk a block in Miami, in Los Angeles, in others, San Antonio, without running into somebody who is being deeply impacted by a broken legal immigration system.

And so when politicians and political figures speak about the issue of migration, they’re not just talking about a legal issue. They’re speaking about the real lives of real people that so many of us love and care for. And so it is an important issue, not just for our country, but in our community it’s a gateway issue.

(Inaudible Protesters in Crowd)

Nope, please. No, no, no, no, no, please. Let me –

(Inaudible Protesters in Crowd)

Yes, let me, may I say something to you? May I say something to you? Will you listen to me for a second, may I say something.

(Inaudible Protesters in Crowd)

No, no, no, listen. These young people, these young people are very brave to be here today. They raise a very legitimate issue. And if you would allow me to, no, no, please, if they would give me the courtesy of finishing my speech where I’m going to speak about this, then I ask that you let them stay because I think they’ll be interested in what I’m going to say.

I don’t, I don’t want them to leave. I want them to stay. These young, let me tell you guys something, these young men and women raise a very legitimate issue. They came here to a crowd that they know may not be friendly to their point of view on some issues, and they had the bravery and the courage to raise their voices. A: I thank God that I’m in a country where they can do that, but B: I want them to hear what I have to say. Because I think number one, I’m not who they think I am and number two, I don’t stand for what they claim I stand for. And so unfortunately, they weren’t willing to be a part of that or listen to it, so I’ll speak to you. And hopefully those of you with cameras and tape recorders will report it to them and the rest of the world, and the rest of the country.

The immigration issue is critical and it’s important because it’s a gateway issue to the number one issue on the minds of the people in this community, of all walks of life, and that’s economic empowerment.