Opinion

Rubio sparks uproar with immigration statement in Spanish; campaign blames poor translation

A Spanish-language interview with Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio caused an uproar in his conservative base when it appeared he indicated he was open to President Obama’s position on immigration.

The Rubio campaign is calling the hubbub a misunderstanding over the inaccurate English translation of what he said.

The interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos — an outspoken advocate of Obama’s amnesty policies — was published Wednesday and translated into English on Friday by the editing service, Grabien.

Rubio and Ramos were discussing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, commonly referred to as DACA, which exempts from deportation and grants a renewable two-year permit to individuals who immigrated illegally before both their 16th birthday and June 2007.

Obama expanded DACA in November 2014 to include immigrants who came to America before 2010, while also eliminating the age restriction. The expansion also increased the deferred period from two years to three.

The interview began, according to Grabien, with Rubio saying: “I believe DACA is important. It can’t be terminated from one moment to the next, because there are already people benefiting from it.”

Conservatives were shaken by Rubio’s description of DACA as “important,” venting on Twitter:

The Rubio campaign sent Breitbart News a transcript of the full Univision transcript in both English and Spanish. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/18/rubio-affirms-hell-end-obamas-executive-amnesty-univision-interview-mistranslated/

The Grabien translation left out Rubio’s remarks leading up to the “DACA is important” statement, changing its meaning.

Ramos asked the senator if he would continue Obama’s amnesty executive actions, “which would benefit more than 4 million undocumented people.”

“Well, DACA is going to have to end at some point. I wouldn’t undo it immediately,” Rubio said. “The reason is, there are already people who have that permission, who are working, who are studying, and I don’t think it would be fair to cancel it suddenly. But I do think it is going to have to end. And, God willing, it is going to end because immigration reform is going to pass.”

Rubio then compared DACA with the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA.

“DAPA hasn’t yet taken effect, and I think it has impeded progress on immigration reform,” he said. “And since the program hasn’t taken effect yet, I would cancel it.”

That’s when the troublesome “DACA is important” line came into play.

“But DACA, I think it is important; it can’t be cancelled suddenly because there are already people who are benefitting from it,” Rubio said, according to the Spanish version. “But it is going to have to end. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States. And I don’t think that’s what they’re asking for, either. I think that everyone prefers immigration reform.”

The semicolon after “important,” rather than a period, shows that what Rubio was saying was not that DACA is important, but that it’s important that the program not be terminated abruptly.

Rubio supporters were relieved:

It’s all in the translation — and what the translator decides to leave in, or take out.

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