Rubio: America changes immigrants, too

06/29/2013 08:51:00 PM
Tom Karst

From the June 27 Congressional Record, the speech by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in support of immigration reform. Powerful stuff, in my opinion. For all those Republicans who "wanted" to vote for immigration reform but didn't, Rubio has elevated himself the do-nothing crowd as a front-runner for the 2016 presidential contest  - and even more so if the House passes its own immigration reform bill and this needed reform is signed into law.

 

Mr. RUBIO. Madam President, my father had a rough childhood. His mom died just 4 days shy of his ninth birthday. The small catering business his parents ran together had collapsed, so as a young child he was forced to leave school and go to work, and he would work virtually every day for the rest of his life.

My mother grew up just as hard. Her father was disabled by polio as a child, and he struggled to provide for his seven daughters. My parents met at a small store where my mother was a cashier and my father was a security guard.

He actually lived and slept in the storage room of that store. Like all young couples, they had dreams. My mother wanted to be an actress, and my father tried hard to get ahead. In fact, after work he would take correspondence courses to become a TV and radio repairman, but it was hard because he barely knew how to read.

They did everything they could to make a better life, but living in an increasingly unstable country, with limited education and no connections, they just couldn’t. So they saved as much as they could, and on May 27, 1956, they boarded a plane to Miami. They came to America in search of a better life.

Like most recent arrivals, life in America wasn’t easy either. My father had someone actually phonetically write on a small piece of paper the words ‘‘I am looking for work.’’ He memorized those words. Those were literally the first words he learned to speak in English. He took day jobs wherever he could find them.

They both went to work at a factory, building aluminum chairs. My dad started working as a bar boy on Miami Beach, eventually becoming a bartender. He saved money and tried to open some businesses. When that didn’t work, they tried Los Angeles and they tried Las Vegas, but that also didn’t work. So he found himself back on Miami Beach behind a bar. The truth is that they were iscouraged and homesick for Cuba too.


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