Marco Rubio won a standing ovation Thursday for his response to illegal immigration activists who interrupted his speech at an annual conservative conference in the nation’s capital.
The two protesters interrupted the event by shouting for the continuation of Obama administration policies aimed at shielding certain illegal aliens from deportation, according to the Huffington Post.
“Implement DAPA! Protect DACA!” the activists repeatedly shouted, referring to Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The two Obama administration programs are executive actions that were designed to shield certain young illegal immigrants, and the parents of illegal immigrants, from deportation.
Both have been challenged in court, and Rubio has come out in opposition of the programs on the basis that immigration reform should be conducted through the legislative process rather than the executive branch.
Rather than debate the unruly activists, the Florida senator and Republican presidential hopeful pointed out that their bad behavior was only possible because of America’s respect for free speech.
“If you do that in another country, you’d be in jail tonight,” Rubio said to applause.
As the protesters were escorted from the conference, Rubio expanded on the impromptu lesson in First Amendment rights with the remainder of the crowd.
“They have a right to be rude and they have a right to be wrong. We live in a free society,” he said.
According to the National Review Online, those lines earned him a standing ovation from the conference attendees.
Lucky for the protesters – and other progressive activists – Rubio was right.
In America, they do have the right to be wrong, and they clearly exercise it often.