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Marco Rubio

Rubio’s Myths vs. Facts Behind the MarcoPhone




Rubio and his press shop rush to spin a loophole in the immigration bill

MYTH: Just about everything Senator Marco Rubio and the Rubio Press shop said in response to the initial “MarcoPhone” story stating  that his new immigration bill would give free cell phones to immigrants with work visas.

Rubio Press Shop Release-

In addition to enhancing technology and fencing at the border, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” includes a provision to give rural residents and business owners near the Mexican border access to cell service and phones so they can quickly report border violence to the police and the Department of Homeland Security. This provision was included in the “Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011”, in response to the case of Robert Krentz, an Arizona rancher who was murdered on his property and did not have the ability to communicate directly with law enforcement because of his rural location. Giving people living and working on the Mexican border the ability to communicate directly with law enforcement is important to securing our border.

Rubio on the Laura Ingraham Show-

Marco Rubio Ingraham: “That’s alright. Eligibility for grants, because in 844 pages, as you can imagine, there’s quite a lot of interesting nuggets in here. You actually can be eligible for a grant for a phone, it looks like. A two year grant program to receive a cellular phone. And articles this morning, as you can imagine, are fairly amusing. ‘Move over Obama phone, this is the amnesty phone.’ What’s going on with that?”

 Rubio: “That’s false. That’s not for the illegal immigrants. That’s for U.S. citizens and residents who live in the border region so that they can have access to calls. One of their complaints – that’s actually part of the Kyl border bill that we adopted. And what it does is it provides communication equipment to people who are living in the border region so they can report illegal crossings because many of them either don’t have phone service or don’t have cell phone service and they have no way of calling.”

 Ingraham: “I know it’s not for the illegal immigrants, but it’s an outlay of money, is it not?”

 Rubio: “Well again, that’s part of a border security package. That all of which is paid for by the fees and fines we are charging as part of this program. That is actually a border security measure that we have adopted and it’s involved to help rural citizens who live along the border that have access to communication equipment so they can call police and they can report border violence. Because one of the complaints we got from the border region is they don’t have any way to communicate with police or border patrol in time if they see something happening on the border. So this is designed to help in that regard. It’s not some effort to provide phone service to anybody.”

Listen to the interview here (8:10)



The Secretary, in consultation with the governors of the States in the Southwest Border region, shall establish a 2-year grant program, to be administered by the Secretary, to improve emergency communications in the Southwest

ELIGIBILITY FOR GRANTS.—An individual  is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the individual demonstrates that he or she— (A) regularly resides or works in the Southwest Border region;  is at greater risk of border violence due to the lack of cellular service at his or her residence or business and his or her proximity to the Southern border. (3) USE OF GRANTS.—Grants awarded under  this subsection may be used to purchase satellite  telephone communications systems and service  that— (A) can provide access to 9–1–1 service; and  (B) are equipped with global positioning


FACT:  Section 1107 in the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” does not specify that these phones are “for U.S. citizens and residents who live in the border region” or “who are living in the border region” as Senator Rubio states twice. But that “ An individual is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the individual demonstrates that he or she— (A) regularly resides or works in the Southwest Border region…”   

FACT: Section 1107 does not stipulate that the “Kyl border bill” was adopted in this new bill, as Rubio points out. (Are we suppose to read Rubio’s mind, or guess that it was?)

FACT: Section 1107 does not specify that only rural residents or business owners will have access to these phones, as Rubio’s Press Shop contends, or the “rural citizens” that Rubio himself calls them. The bill states that only individuals  that “regularly reside or work” in the region are eligible. Again, Rubio’s own press shop states that this bill is “Giving people living and working on the Mexican border the ability to communicate directly with law enforcement is important to securing our border.” (see Rubio Press Shop statement above)

Here is what we said-

According to the newly filed bill, immigrants who are allowed to enter the United States under a work visa, will be ‘granted’ a taxpayer funded cellular phone. Move over “Obama phone,” we present the new ‘Hola, Como Estas?!’ MarcoPhone.-Shark Tank

According to Rubio and his Press shop, anyone residing along the “Mexican border” is eligible for the “MarcoPhone.” This would mean everyone could, include illegal immigrants, who are renting a home or apartment along the border. Any individual can easily prove they live where they say they live by simply furnishing  a utility bill and some form of identification, regardless of their immigration status. 

So, technically, it is quite possible that these illegal “aliens,”  who crossed over the border illegally and reside along the border, and those who are planning on crossing over illegally and become potential U.S. border residents in the U.S., will have the opportunity to apply for a legal work visa that would make  them eligible to receive the ‘MarcoPhone.’ Rubio’s immigration bill refers to immigrants as “aliens,” in case anyone was wondering why I used the term illegal “aliens.”

As far as paying for these phones, Rubio says that its part of a “border security package,”and not taxpayer funded. Rubio then adds “That all (phones) of which is paid for by the fees and fines we are charging as part of this program.”  It is safe to assume that Rubio is referring to the penalization of those illegal aliens who applied for the immigrant work visas, but he does not say whether the phones are distribute before or after the “fees and fines” are collected. If the phones are distributed before fines are collected, then isn’t it also safe to assume also that taxpayer’s initially paid for the phones?

I praise my friend Marco for putting forth this effort to reform a badly broken immigration system, and while I agree with him on just about all of his immigration principles and triggers, I would suggest to Rubio & Company  to introduce an amendment that will address all of these “Facts” and questions, so that U.S. citizens will know exactly who is eligible for these phones. In addition, perhaps inserting a start date to establish residency would also help with the clarification process.

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About author

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor, as well as one of NewsmaxTV's conservative commentators. Javier has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at

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  • Al Miller

    Florida has two of the worst senators in Rubio and Nelson. Rand Paul appears to be another amnesty sellout like Marco Phone Rubio. I wish we had Ted Cruz instead of amnesty Rubio. Also why are Limbaugh and Beck still backing amnesty Rubio?

  • Cat

    What about this …

    “And the Senate proposal offers amnesty to far more illegal immigrants than we thought. In addition to most of the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country, the bill offers to legalize the relatives of illegal immigrants outside the U.S. and even others who have already been deported back home. So current immigration laws are shredded.”

    “The Senate bill is bad news for the American people.”

    • Al Miller

      Rubio, the rest of the RINOs and Democrats have a problem telling the truth. Radio talk show hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Ingraham appear to be shilling for amnesty Marco Phone Rubio, the RINOs like McCain and the Democrats.

      Meanwhile, innocent Americans get blown up in sanctuary cities like Boston as there are photos of lots of intel types and Saudis at the finish line. Obama then meets with the Saudis to let them leave the country? Hey Marco, Bill Nelson, McCain, Dems – what is going on in Boston?

      • westie

        Don’t forget that “Patriot” Mark Levin who practically gave LaRaza Rubio a BJ on his radio program…I’ve decided these big mouth Repub tools are not worth warm spit!

  • http://SharkTank Lee May

    After it’s passed we’ll find out whats in it and then the judges
    will give us their interpretation. What happens to the illegals that decide they want to stay as is ? Obama and the liberals have shown they don’t want to deport them.

    What about the states that remain committed to support illegals and provide entitlements ?

  • Stan Lee

    Marco Rubio: I like the guy. He’s meant well, the Republican Achilles Heel is lack of Latin support. Rubio wants to address that, but once enmeshed in it, once seeing real gut reaction by all factions concerned, it gets down to proposing lesser of the evils, in Marco’s estimation.
    I wish he’d never have ventured into being the “hero” in a thankless political position.
    There’s a good man under all these objections flying at him, I hope he can survive it.

  • Joe Angione

    Hardly any undocumented immigrant can pass Marco’s eligibility tests for legal residency…nor can they afford to pay penalty fees or fines, back taxes or future income taxes. They can’t contribute to any of their Marco-phones or other entitlements because they aren’t earning enough money to be required to pay income tax. Who will pay for all their benefits (should they be eligible)? Every taxpayer in the U.S. How much more can we afford?

  • Al Miller

    Hey Javier – check out Drudge. Rubio’s Amnesty bill also gives newly legalized illegals a $3,000 advantage for new hires. So if you hire a newly legal illegal as an employer – your healthcare costs are $3,000 less. Wow – Americans will never get hired. These people writing these laws are so evil.

    I guess Rubio, McCain, Bill Nelson and the other Democrats plus Obama don’t want us to know that either about their Amnesty. Why are the so called “conservative” talk show people like Limbaugh still fawning over Rubio? Why not talk to a real conservative like Ted Cruz.

  • Lightweight

    No matter you market Rubio,he still is a Lair.

  • SH

    To me, it is so simple! Why complicate the situation any further? Just pass a bill that only U. S. citizens can receive any kind of “freebies” from the government…education, health care, etc. One shouldn’t be able to get a driver’s license either if they can’t speak some English….this is very scary to watch, when they can’t read the signs or pass a written driving test! Voting?…I always thought this was one of the privileges of being an American citizen! Otherwise, why can’t I go to any other country and vote in their elections…hmmmm. Employers should be fined if they decide to hire illegals…it worked in one state where illegals left after they couldn’t get jobs….go figure. Plainly…if you cut off the freebies, and being able to work illegally, it is a fact that folks leave on their own and don’t go to those places who enforce our laws…if we keep giving away everything, they will continue to come…stop doing that, and they leave on their own. If you want to be in America or become an American citizen, simple follow the existing laws…what is so difficult about that?

  • http://SharkTank Lee May

    From day one it has been obvious that there would be no illegals if there were no jobs and freebee’s. But because it is no longer, We the people and we only have self serving politicians, we are screwed !

  • Tom Garcia

    We do not want to give them a path to citizenship. Ever.
    Take it from an American of Mexican heritage – poor Mexicans
    are socialists and ready made Democrats. They will never vote republican. They will never support our Constitution as written.
    How much of the Latino vote did Reagan get? In his 1980 landslide victory, 35 percent. In his 1984 landslide victory, 37 percent. That’s better than Romney, but still a wipeout. Reagan supported an amnesty in 1986. What did it do for the party’s standing among Latinos? George H.W. Bush got only 30 percent of the Latino vote in his own landslide victory in 1988.
    The Pew Research Center reported in 2011 that of all groups
    surveyed, Hispanics have the most negative view of capitalism in America —
    55%. This is even higher than the 41% of self-identified liberal
    Democratics who reported a negative view of capitalism.
    The Pew Hispanic Center
    in 2012 found that 75% of Hispanics prefer, “A bigger government providing more
    services” rather than a “smaller government providing fewer services”— compared
    to 41% of the general public.
    The vast majority of illegal immigrants are poor and from Mexico. And in Mexico the government relies on class warfare and freebies to the poor for their votes. Most illegal immigrants are already socialists. They like the freebies in Mexico, but here in the US they are better. Unless they end up with a business of their own and some wealth, they will always vote for redistribution. Mexicans and Cubans come from very different backgrounds. Communism is much worse that socialism. Although the goal of socialism is communism. Rubio doesn’t get it.
    The morons in our Republican congress need to write a bill that allows only
    immigrants in this country that have some amount of wealth, education, and professional standing. The libatards will go nuts! Why would we want the type of citizenship requirement found in all the other wealthy countries around the world? They only want to let poor socialists in.

  • Jackie

    Marco moved to DC after putting his Florida home on sale. After campaigning with Mitt Romney for Self Deporitation Marco has been selling Rubio water bottles for money. Now he found a way to make millions after talking to former NY Mayor Giuliani on how to get kick backs from mobil companies. Giuliani made millions off of the 9/11 funding and when it was exposed it was to late. Rubio slipped in the deal and hopes the bill is passed and he could care less about how the Bill treats immigrants.